Two weeks ago, a press conference was organized by the Ministry of Telecommunication & Digital Infrastructure. It was at this press conference that Hon. Minister Harin Fernando announced that Project Loon would commence it’s trials in Sri Lanka, with the Ratmalana airport acting as a landing base. In case you’ve been living under a rock, Project Loon is an initiative by Google to bring The Internet to everyone through the use of balloons. Thanks to the ICTA, a MoU was signed with Google to bring Project Loon to Sri Lanka.
Yesterday, the first of these Project Loon balloons entered Sri Lankan airspace. To be precise, they were located on the Southern Coast of Sri Lanka. With the balloon and testing equipment now being in Sri Lanka, tests are expected to commence soon.
As we’ve covered before, these helium balloons will be flying high above the clouds in the stratosphere. This means they’ll be flying higher than commercial airplanes and bird life. At this altitude, they’ll be acting as miniature mobile cellular towers in the sky for 100 days. As such, the balloons will be taking signals from existing ISP’s and beaming them down to areas without internet access.
At the moment, only one such balloon is in Sri Lanka for testing purposes. As the tests progress, we will likely see more Project Loon balloons fill the sky. Eventually, when Project Loon comes closers to its final implementation date, we can expect 13 such balloons to fill the sky. It’s nice to see that Project Loon is coming closer to implementation in Sri Lanka. Hopefully, at the end of the year, we will actually have fast balloon internet covering the entire island.