SoftBank and Google parent tie up on flying 5G stations for phone services using balloons and drones

The Japan Times

SAN FRANCISCO/TOKYO - Mobile phone carrier SoftBank Corp. and Google LLC parent Alphabet Inc. said Thursday they will jointly set up airborne mobile phone base stations, using balloons and aircraft in the stratosphere, to cover wider areas for next-generation 5G wireless services. SoftBank's year-old HAPSMobile and Alphabet's Loon, which spun out last July from the research incubator of the Google parent, have been trying separately to fly networking equipment at high altitudes to provide high-speed internet in spots where ground-based towers are unreachable. Loon carries the gear with a large balloon, while HAPSMobile uses a large drone. Despite internet coverage gaps in rural areas or during natural disasters, mobile network operators, governments and other potential customers have yet to demonstrate much enthusiasm for buying airborne technologies. Also competing to fill the coverage gaps are several billionaire entrepreneurs, including Elon Musk, Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos.


Google kills off its Titan drone that would have taken on Facebook

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Google's secretive X R&D lab, a division of Google's parent company Alphabet, has pulled the plug on its drone project that would bring internet access to millions of people – Project Titan. It has been confirmed by Alphabet that engineers were told to look for other positions within the Alphabet/Google community. Although the project has been killed, the mission is still alive – the firm will continue to use Project Loon as a way to connect rural and remote areas of the world. X, a division of Google's parent company Alphabet, has pulled the plug on its project that would bring internet access to millions of people – Titan. The news was first reported by 9To5Mac, which received a statement from an X spokesperson.


Google parent company Alphabet is bringing its internet-beaming balloons to Kenya next year

Daily Mail

Alphabet Inc's Loon said on Thursday it would deploy its system of balloons to beam high-speed Internet access with Telkom Kenya from next year to cover rural and suburban populations, marking its first commercial deal in Africa. Known as Project Loon, the technology was developed by Alphabet's X, the company's innovation lab. It has since become Loon, a subsidiary of Alphabet, which is the parent company of Google. Alphabet Inc's Loon said on Thursday it would deploy its system of balloons to beam high-speed Internet access with Telkom Kenya from next year to cover rural and suburban populations, marking its first commercial deal in Africa The technology was used by U.S. telecom operators to provide connectivity to more than 250,000 people in Puerto Rico after a hurricane last year. Kenya hopes the technology can help achieve full Internet coverage of its population.


Alphabet has created a 1000km internet connection using six massive high-altitude balloons

Daily Mail

Google's parent Alphabet is set to beam internet to the remotest areas of the planet via high-altitude balloons. The firm has launched six balloons as part of its'Project Loon' that have managed to transfer data across a 620-mile (1,000km) area as part of a landmark test. A spokesperson from Loon, which is a subsidiary of Alphabet, said the stratospheric balloons rely on a single connection to the ground in Nevada. The test is Project Loon's latest as it heads towards its planned commercial launch of the service next year. Google's parent Alphabet is set to beam internet into the remotest areas of the planet as part of its'Project Loon' starting next year.


Alphabet Project Loon and Project Wing from moonshots into full businesses

Daily Mail

Google parent Alphabet has two new businesses under its name. The firm announced on Wednesday that it's'graduating' Project Loon and Project Wing from moonshots to full-fledged businesses at Alphabet. Project Loon, its internet-bearing balloon initiative, and Project Wing, its drone delivery service, were launched in 2013 and 2014, respectively, as part of its research-and-development lab Google X. Alphabet's Google X announced on Wednesday that its moonshots Project Loon and Project Wing would'graduate' to full companies. Now, Loon and Wing will be included in Alphabet's'Other Bets' category, which includes former Google X moonshots like deep learning research project Google Brain, life sciences research arm Verily as well as self-driving car startup Waymo, among others. The CEO of Loon will be Alastair Westgarth, former CEO of antenna company Quintel, while longtime Google employee James Ryan Burgess is the CEO of Wing, Google X head Astro Teller announced in a blog post.