- Sustainability Issue (Civic Engagement):
Despite the advance technology we have today, more than half of the world’s population still does not have access to internet. This makes it incredibly difficult for the underdeveloped or developing countries to advance or compete with the rest of the world that do have access to the powerful tool of internet. Furthermore, these areas are often overlooked by telecommunication companies, who don’t find it worthwhile to build cell towers or other infrastructure in certain areas.
In addition to areas that don’t have the infrastructure for internet, there have also been a lot of natural disasters that have damaged cell towers and affected people’s abilities to recover from the events. Recovering from these events is not only costly but also requires a lot of resources.
- Summary of Technology (Project Loon):
- Project Loon is a balloon that can float over areas and provide internet access and telecommunications to those areas without needing to build cell towers or invest in infrastructure
- Project Loon is highly energy-efficient and is powered entirely by renewable energy with solar panels powering daytime operations and charging a battery to be used at night
- Project Loon can also help in areas that already have internet. There are areas that lose signals because of hills or buildings, and instead of building infrastructure in very specific areas to combat that issue, Project Loon can help fill in those dead spots
- Natural disasters like Hurricane Maria that devastated Puerto Rico and damaged its telecommunications can use Project Loon to help with their recovery efforts
- Loon have a shorter lifespan, which is sometimes advantageous because you can easily update and integrate new technologies into new models
- Company Website: https://x.company/loon/
- The Verge, Inside Project Loon: Google’s internet in the sky is almost open for business, https://www.theverge.com/2015/3/2/8129543/google-x-internet-balloon-project-loon-interview
- MIT Technology Review, Billions of people could get online for the first time thanks to helium balloons that Google will soon send over may places cell towers don’t reach, https://www.technologyreview.com/s/534986/project-loon/
Key stakeholders include:
- Telecommunications companies (e.g., Verizon, AT&T)
- Mobile internet users
- Federal Communications Commission
- Next Steps
- Run a number of beta tests in underserved cell areas to create product buzz
- Continue to improve design to cover a wider area with one balloon
- Seek to obtain government financing for Loons in one key market as a test market
- Comment on article: https://makeasmartcity.com/2017/10/16/underground-electric-tunnels/
This is a very interesting and cool concept! I wonder if this technology could be applied to above ground traffic as well to further ease traffic and remove any driving errors or driving patterns that cause traffic. Obviously it couldn’t go as fast above ground, but if people are not blocking roads and if there are fewer accidents, that would help immensely.
UNI – LC3291
Fall 2017 – Week 5