Alphabet spells 'Loon' for Indonesia

Broadband balloons secure local operators for 2016 test

Project Loon, the once-Google-now-Alphabet broadband balloon project, is to be trialled in Indonesia next year.

The company has announced it's secured cooperation with the populous island nation's three mobile operators – Telkomsel, XL Axiata, and Indosat – to run the tests.

Project Loon veep Mike Cassidy blogs that the country is a natural target for the service: only one-third of the population of 100 million have any kind of Internet connection, and those that have connections endure “painfully slow” service.

“Over the next few years, we’re hoping that Loon will help put high-speed LTE Internet connections within reach of more than 100 million Indonesians”, Cassidy writes.

It's probably the best testing-ground for Loon so far, because Indonesia is a telco nightmare, with 17,000 islands of which around 920 are permanently inhabited, and with lots of remnant jungle to get in the way of microwave links.

Indonesia joins Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand, and France on the Project Loon trial list, and earlier this month Alphabet said it hoped to name African partners soon, so it's on track to get the whole world connected to Loon Balloons in around half a century. ®

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