The Sri Lankan government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with US search engine giant Google to deploy the latter’s ‘Project Loon’ balloons in order to increase 3G coverage across the country. According to Deputy Economic Policy Minister Harsha de Silva, the deal, which was signed on 28 July, will enable operators to enter into agreements with the floating tower cells, bringing down transmission costs and leading to reductions in the cost of service provision. ‘Hopefully in a few months every person and every device on the island will be covered by 3G,’ commented de Silva, adding that the move will ‘provide a huge boost to our game plan to create a knowledge-based economy.’
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Google initially launched its balloon-powered internet scheme in New Zealand in 2013 , stating: ‘Each balloon can provide connectivity to a ground area about 40km in diameter at speeds comparable to 3G. For balloon-to-balloon and balloon-to-ground communications, the balloons use antennas equipped with specialised radio frequency technology’. Project Loon utilises unlicensed frequencies in the 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz bands.