The Indian government has asked US technology major Google to choose a telecom partner to carry out the "Project Loom" internet service.
"Google wants to test the Loon Project in expensive and scarce spectrum bands. It has been asked to partner with any telecom operator that can meet its requirement and then approach the government for testing Loon," the Press Trust of India quoted a government official as saying.
Google and the government had discussed the "Project Loom" Internet beaming test in India in October-November (2015), but the talks fell through as the search engine giant asked for expensive 700MHz-800MHz spectrum band, which is not assigned to any network carrier. It is said to carry a base price of Rs 11,485 crore per MHz and comes with stipulation that the company should buy minimum of 5MHz.
The Centre is ready to provide 2500MHz band via BSNL. Since it is state-owned network carrier, it will be easy for Google to get security clearance. It is now up to Google to decide whether to settle with 2500MHz or initiate negotiation with the government again.
Project Loon, if successful, has the potential to beam 4G (150/50mbps: download/upload speed) Internet wirelessly from 20km above surface, to an area of 40km diameter. This will help telecom companies save money on setting up expensive signal towers and also be able to provide Internet service in the remotest corners of the country. Thus, in turn, help the government's pet initiative -- Digital India.
Project Loon testing has already been conducted in New Zealand, America, Brazil and recently in Sri Lanka as well.