Google to use blimps to provide wireless in Africa, Southeast Asia

May 27, 2013

(Google white-space network Credit: Google)

Google plans to build and help run wireless networks in emerging markets such as sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, connecting a billion or more new people to the Internet.

The goal is to provide Internet access to dwellers outside of major cities where wired Internet connections aren’t available, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

As part of the plan, Google has also worked on making special balloons or blimps, known as high-altitude platforms, to transmit WiFi signals to an area of hundreds of square miles.

Google is also looking at using white space (unused channels in the broadcast TV spectrum).

Are you ready for blimp ads? (Credit: Google)

In March, Google announced the launch of a trial with ten schools in the Cape Town area, which will receive wireless broadband over a white space network.

Watch the skies

Last June, sky-divers dropped from a blimp to demo Google Glass in San Francisco. And Google used a fleet of camera-equipped, remote-controlled blimps for live-streaming a bird’s-eye view of Google I/O on YouTube.

Soon you’ll be seeing Google blimps (a.k.a. gBlimps) flying over major cities, displaying AdWords ads to a larger audience than ever before, says Google.