While it is impossible for most of us to live without the internet today, there are several billions of people who do not have the privilege of accessing the World Wide Web. There are several remote locations scattered all around the world that remain left behind in the modern race of internet connectivity. It is not easy to carry cables across forests and oceans, hence bringing internet connectivity to people who are way too far from the urban side of the globe. Thus, the majestic tech giants brought into the light, their million-dollar idea of beaming internet from the limitless spread of the sky. Through internet-beaming, internet access will be provided wirelessly to the remote areas that have hitherto been void of any sort of connectivity. Hardware systems that include circuits to beam internet access will be raised to a high altitude and from there each system will provide connectivity to a vast range of area on the ground.
THE LOON PROJECT
Google and Facebook kicked off their trial projects to implement internet-beaming way back in 2017. Google has made this work by sending balloons to an altitude of about 20 kilometres and these balloons will stay up there for around 100 days. Each of these balloons can cover an area of 40 km diameter providing wireless internet access to people in this area. Test runs have been made in New Zealand and Google will soon launch this project in India partnering with BSNL.
Facebook entered the internet-beaming race by creating Aquila which is a solar-powered drone that beams the internet to the ground in a way similar to Wi-Fi signals. Facebook has reportedly stopped designing its own aircraft as other companies have made massive developments in creating high-altitude aircraft tech for internet-beaming.
The most recent development in this area is the ‘Hawk 30’ which is the product of Japanese tech giant SoftBank and U.S. drone manufacturer AeroVironment and in a crucial collaboration with NASA. The Hawk 30 will dispense 5G and Internet of Things connectivity from the skies. This drone has solar panels, just like Facebook’s Aquila, and it has the potential to stay in the air for months together. This drone has the honour of succeeding in many aspects that its predecessors failed to. This drone will soon be launched from NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Centre. With NASA entering the race, it is expected that there will soon be monumental development in the internet-beaming technology.