Google Announces Massive Global Wi-Fi Expansion via Blimps

6-2-2013 3-55-21 PM

Google is investing millions on a project aimed at expanding wireless networks across sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, an area largely considered the epicenter of emerging mHealth trends and initiatives. The company has already created an ecosystem of low-cost smartphones that leverage low-power microprocessors and run Android operating systems that it will begin shipping to the region.

Smartphone adoption in the region has been limited due largely to limited wi-fi access. Google aims to address this problem by deploying thousands of high-altitude balloons and blimps that are capable of transmitting to areas spanning hundreds of square miles. This strategy will be supplemented with a satellite network infrastructure.

A Google blog post describes the technology as "well-suited to provide low cost connectivity to rural communities with poor telecommunications infrastructure, and for expanding coverage of wireless broadband in densely populated urban areas"

Small-scale trials have already succeeded in Cape Town, South Africa where wireless access routers are providing service across high schools across the region. The routers are connected to a central base station that mimics the role that the blimps will play.

↑ Back to top

Founding Sponsors

Platinum Sponsors