Google is in talks with a number of Indian operators about launching its ambitious Project Loon in the country to expand internet connectivity to rural and remote areas.
Google MD for Southeast Asia and India Rajan Anandan, in an interview with the Economic Times, confirmed it has received support for the project from the government and is now looking for local partners to start a pilot.
He didn’t mention the names of the operators, except that it was currently in talks with state-owned BSNL. “You’re going to see us do more and more investments here,” he told the Times.
Loon is a project to use balloons to provide high-speed internet connectivity, and has so far been tested by operators such as Telefonica, Telstra and Vodafone. It uses high altitude balloons that fly freely 20km above the earth’s surface, serving as floating mobile phone towers.
Sri Lanka announced plans last month to take a 25 per cent stake in Project Loon in the country in exchange for the spectrum the government will allocate for the project.
Google said in October it has “almost perfected” its balloon technology. The same month it announced its first Loon partnership after forging an agreement with Indonesia’s three largest mobile operators – Telkomsel, Indosat and XL Axiata – to deliver 4G coverage to remote areas of the country’s 17,000 islands from balloons.