Commercial Project Loon Service in 2015 or 2016?
Some time in 2015 or 2016, if all goes according to plan, Google believes it will be able to create a continuous, 50-mile-wide ring of Internet service around the globe, initially focusing on potential customers across southern Africa, southern Australia, New Zealand and southern Latin America, and supplied by Project Loon, the constellation of planned unmanned balloons.
The general plan seems to be to pioneer LTE service acorss relatively sparse areas before expanding to more-populous areas.
Google estimates the cost of coverage to be an order of magnitude less than building a network of cell towers to provide equivalent coverage.
Although Project Loon initially tested Wi-Fi as the communications protocol, it has since switched to Long Term Evolution, making mobile service providers logical partners.
Google says it can now deliver data at 5 Mbps to mobile phones, or 22 Mbps to fixed antennas.