Earlier this year, it was revealed that Sri Lanka would become the first country in the world to receive universal Internet access via Google’s high altitude balloons. Now, the firm has announced that Indonesia will be the next country in which Project Loon will take flight.
The Google X project began in June 2013 with an experimental pilot in New Zealand. It sees balloons float up to around 20 km (12 mi) above the Earth and beam Internet connectivity down to the surface below.
The balloons are solar powered and fly with the wind, ascending or descending to find a layer of wind that is blowing in the required direction. As one balloon drifts out of range, another is intended to float into range and they can each provide connectivity to an area of around 40 km (25 mi) in diameter on the ground.
Indonesia is an understandable choice of location for a Loon roll-out. The country is split across an archipelago of more than 17,000 islands, not to mention it being mountainous and large swathes also being covered in jungle. All this makes the logistics of laying cables and installing mobile phone towers to deliver widespread Internet access very difficult indeed.