June 15 - Google launches technology-laden helium balloons that aim to bring the Internet to remote parts of the world. Andrew Raven reports.
Could helium-filled balloons bring high speed Internet to the most remote parts of the world? Google thinks one day, they might. The tech-giant is launching balloons in New Zealand as part of a bold experiment. Powered by solar panels, and laden with computers, Google says the balloons it can beam down wireless signals at 3G-like speeds. That could be a game-breaker in areas with little infrastructure, says Google. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GOOGLE X CHIEF TECHNICAL ARCHITECT, RICHARD DeVAUL, SAYING: "But sometimes if you want to make a huge big leap, you have to try something crazy." The balloons fly at twice the height of commercial planes and one can provide web access over an area of 1200 square kilometres. While they can stay aloft for about 100 days, they can't remain in the same place. So Google's plan is launch a host of balloons into the winds of the stratosphere, creating a network that provides constant coverage.