While many of us take the internet for
granted, large parts of the world are still unconnected. In big towns and
cities providing connectivity with cell towers is economical, as there are lots
of people there wanting to connect, but the further away from these towns and
cities you go the fewer people there are until eventually connectivity just stops. To bring the Internet to people in these areas we need to look up, way up, into the
stratosphere. From here we can provide connectivity across much larger areas, bringing the benefits of the Internet to more people. So how do we get there? With balloons. Really big balloons. Beginning their journey from one of our
custom-built balloon launchers, our balloons are filled with
lighter-than-air gas and released up into the skies. Rising 20 kilometres into
the stratosphere Loon balloons float twice as high as airplanes, well above
weather and wildlife. To get to where they need to go Loon balloons sail the
winds by moving up or down into different wind currents traveling in
different directions, joining other balloons in small teams over areas
where connectivity is needed. Ground stations connected to local Internet
service providers send signal up to the balloons and then back down to the
ground over large distances, allowing people to connect directly to the
internet with an LTE mobile phone. When it is eventually time for our
balloons to come down, we navigate them to remote areas and work with local air traffic control to manage their slow descent down to earth where they’re collected by our recovery teams. By repeating this process at scale we hope to provide continued connectivity to users on the ground bringing the Internet to more people in more places around the world.


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