Google is in talks with communications service providers in India about the introduction of its Project Loon Internet access program that proposes the use of balloons to deliver online connectivity, according to local media reports.
The Economic Times reports that Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) is in talks with state-owned national operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) and others about Project Loon pilots and has support from the Indian government, which is keen to find any way it can to get its population of 1.25 billion online though hasn't been so keen on programs such as Facebook 's Free Basics plan. (See India Deals Death Blow to Facebook's Free Basics .)
And there's a lot to do, as there is little in the way of fixed broadband in India -- just 16.5 million fixed broadband subscribers at the end of 2015 -- while 4G is just taking off. (See Telenor Joins 4G Bandwagon in India, Indian Incumbents Risk Tripping in 4G Race and RJio Sputters Into Lyf With 4G 'Launch'.)
Project Loon ultimately aims to offer connectivity to remote and under-served areas via a network of balloons positioned in the stratosphere 20 kilometers above the earth but Google needs telco partners to be able to connect end users. Pilot projects have already taken place in countries such as New Zealand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Brazil. (See Google's Internet Balloon Project Takes Flight and Google Ready to Release Thousands of Loons .)
— Ray Le Maistre, , Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading