Bandeira do Brasil

Bandeira do Brasil

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Balloons equipped with radio transceivers could soon be bringing the internet to remote parts of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil

The airborne devices are said to provide the same connection speed as the 3G network from almost 800ft in the air.

The balloons, which aim to connect regions cut off by traditional technology, have been developed by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research as part of the government’s National Broadband Plan.

Government ministers have also reportedly been in discussions with Google, which is also piloting its internet-powered balloon initiative, called “Loon”, in New Zealand.

Paulo Bernardo, Brazil’s communications minister, said: “It will be critical to isolated towns in the Amazon region , which are not yet served by operators.”

Around 250,000 homes – some 950,000 people - are connected to the internet in Amazonas, a state that is home to 3.5 million people, according to the 2010 census.

Earlier this month, the communications ministry, along with the ministry for science, technology and innovation, launched a test balloon in Cachoeira Paulista in São Paulo.

Once in the air, attached to a vehicle, it connected via radio to a fixed point in the city and allowed two video conferences across Skype to take place.

The balloon can carry a connection for a distance of up to 30 miles (50km).

Marco Antonio Raupp, science, technology and innovation minister, added: “I hope the project continues advancing so that the most remote regions, such as the Amazon, have an effective internet signal.”

The project is similar to Google’s pilot initiative, which began in June. In the trial, 30 balloons were launched in New Zealand where 50 residents were responsible for them as “balloon pilots”, offering connections with 3G speed.

The Project Loon balloons are 50ft (15m) by 40ft (12m) and are designed to travel 12 miles (20km) above the Earth’s stratosphere, moving with the wind to provide internet coverage.

“It sounds a bit like science fiction, but we are sure the project will become a reality,” Sameera Ponda, Google engineer, said.

“Bringing internet to all with balloons is easier and cheaper than doing it through satellites.”

Representatives from the web giant met with Brazilian officials to discuss a partnership last month, according to Folha de São Paulo.

“This project would certainly contribute in a significant way to increasing internet access in an area that is difficult to reach with traditional technology,” Mr Bernardo said.

SOURCES: The Telegraph

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