In the run up to the visit of Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai to India, the government said the technology giant’s Project Loon that aims to provide Internet access in remote areas through a network of helium-filled balloons will interfere with transmissions of mobile operators in the country. Google, under its ‘Project Loon’, is using big balloons floating at a height of 20 kilometers above earth surface for transmission of Internet services. It has already tested this technology in New Zealand, California (the U.S.) and Brazil.
Replying to a query in Rajya Sabha on whether there are technical glitches in according approval to Project Loon, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Communications and IT minister replied in the affirmative.
“The proposed frequency band to be used in the Loon Project of Google is being used for cellular operations in India and it will lead to interference with cellular transmissions,” he added. As per Google, each balloon can provide connectivity to a ground area about 40 km in diameter using a wireless communications technology called LTE or 4G.
Mr. Pichai, who will be travelling to India next week, will be meeting Mr Prasad on December 16 to discuss among other things how the Loon project can help the government meet its target of digitally connecting the people of India in the next few years. He is also likely to meet Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.