Distribution is hard, specifically in India. Only 24% of 1.3B people in India have connectivity, & that's mostly due to cheap Android phones that are in the market. Rest can barely afford to eat food, and thus even with free data plans through flying balloons, most wouldn't shell out money to buy an internet based device. A better plan might be to start with localized direct-response marketing to educate the masses, then deploy free devices from the tax money to democratize education, and then deploy the balloons.
I hope Alphabet can connect the world but I most wish they could provide connectivity throughout the US. Even in McLean, Virginia ( a Washington DC suburb, just across river) connectivity is spotty. Why can South Korea provide great connectivity and the US it is spotty.
I recently visited Loon (Google's sister company) and got to see how they're moving from a zany idea to use weather balloons to beam data, to potentially bringing connectivity to millions, maybe even entire countries. But this isn't just humanitarian work: Alphabet's cash cow, Google advertising revenue, is starting to stagnate. Can Loon help bring new potential users online as Google's core business matures?
Sounds like a cheaper way to deliver internet to the world...
The first rule of engineering is to fix design errors and bugs as soon as possible. The insistence by Google and Facebook of pushing their deeply flawed designs into new countries is wrong. This is how Myanmar happened.
I hope that this also can become an alternative to modern internet service providers.
Google’s X project, Loon, hopes to Curious-George (read this as a verb) internet access to billions of unconnected people around the world.
“It took years of design to build the balloons—and the algorithmic forecasting for windstreams—to be able to direct them.”
“It’s a stratospheric submarine.”
Very cool idea and great to see Alphabet’s incentives aligned with their consumers.
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