Google Blimps to Bring Internet Access to Remote Regions

With the privacy concerns that've arisen with its questionable data gathering, many people are unlikely to welcome the idea of a Google blimp floating overhead. But the billion people the company wants to connect to the Internet may feel differently.
June 4, 2013, 6am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"Google Inc. is deep into a multipronged effort to build and help run wireless networks in emerging markets as part of a plan to connect a billion or more new people to the Internet," reports Amir Efrati. "These wireless networks would serve areas such as sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia to dwellers outside of major cities where wired Internet connections aren't available, said people familiar with the strategy."

"The networks also could be used to improve Internet speeds in urban centers, these people said."

"As part of the plan, Google has been working on building an ecosystem of new microprocessors and low-cost smartphones powered by its Android mobile operating system to connect to the wireless networks, these people said. And the Internet search giant has worked on making special balloons or blimps, known as high-altitude platforms, to transmit signals to an area of hundreds of square miles, though such a network would involve frequencies other than the TV broadcast ones."

"The activities underscore how the Web search giant is increasingly aiming to have control over every aspect of a person's connection to the Web across the globe," adds Efrati.

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Published on Friday, May 24, 2013 in The Wall Street Journal
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