Report: Google considering Internet balloons to connect sub-Saharan Africa

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal reported that Google is working on a “multi-pronged effort” to build wireless networks that could connect more than a billion people in emerging markets.

According to unnamed sources, the company wants to connect people outside of major cities in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia through a combination of frequencies used for television broadcasting, special balloons or blimps transmitting on non-TV broadcast frequencies, and potentially through satellite transmissions. Making wireless speed faster in urban centers is also a potential goal for the project, the WSJ‘s sources said.

Sources also said that Google might be looking to team up with local telecommunications companies to achieve greater wireless coverage, but it is still unclear whether any deals are on the table yet. The WSJ said that Google is talking to regulators in South Africa and Kenya to create a network through television broadcast frequencies, and that “some wireless executives say they expect such changes to happen in the coming years.”

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Ars Technica

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