GOOD

The Entire Country of Sri Lanka is About to Get Balloon-Based Internet, Thanks to Google

“Project Loon” will make Sri Lanka the first nation on earth to enjoy complete, coast-to-coast 3G coverage.

image via google/project loon

The island nation of Sri Lanka has just signed a major contract to become the first country on earth to enjoy complete, nationwide 3G internet coverage, and they’re doing it all with balloons. Yes, balloons. Specifically, 13 of them, floating high above the Indian Ocean, bobbing in the stratosphere, to ensure the entire country of over 21 million people can get online.


Sri Lanka’s newfound connectivity is thanks to “Project Loon,” a silly-sounding, serious-impact initiative from Google designed to bring internet services to rural or remote locations for which standard internet installation is too difficult. To do so, Project Loon utilizes high tech balloons hovering twice as high as commercial airline routes, where they broadcast a 3G or LTE network, like that which most smartphones use for their internet connection, back down to earth. This short video from Project Loon explains the technology and process involved in making the balloon-based internet a reality:

image via (cc) flickr user ilitephoto

While Project Loon itself is several years old, having been first tested in New Zealand back in 2013, Google’s agreement with Sri Lanka marks the first wide-scale application of the system, and vaults the small South Asian nation into the internet history books as a result. The Sri Lankan internet-balloons are slated to launch in the coming months. Once that happens, local internet service providers will be able to buy access to the Loon network, through which they can then connect their subscribers. Said Mangala Samaraweera, Sri Lanka's Foreign, Telecommunications, and IT Minister, during the agreement signing ceremony: “As a result of this agreement, the entire Sri Lankan island – every village from Dondra to Point Pedro – will be covered with affordable high speed internet using Google Loon’s balloon technology.”

This is not the only “first” for that country, as far as communications technology goes. India Times points out that Sri Lanka became the first South Asian nation to release mobile phones in 1989, as well as the first to establish a 3G network in 2004.

[via phys]

Articles

Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

Keep Reading Show less
Good News

An anonymous White House official claims President Trump cruelly limited Hispanic immigrants in their new book, "A Warning."

The book, to be released on November 19, gives an alleged insider account of the Trump White House and paints a picture of the president as a chaotic man who lacks the mental and moral acumen required for the job.

The anonymous staffer says that Trump once feigned a Hispanic accent and made fun of women attempting to immigrate to the U.S.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
via KTVU / YouTube

The 63-year-old Oakland-Alameda Coliseum, currently branded the RingCentral Coliseum, is one of the most decrepit sports venues in America.

The home to the the NFL's Oakland Raiders (until they move to Las Vegas next season) and MLB's A's, is notoriously known as the Black Hole and has made headlines for its frequent flooding and sewage issues.

One of the stadium's few positive aspects is its connection to public transportation.

Keep Reading Show less
Hero Video
Yad Vashem

Since 1992, the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous has been holding reunion ceremonies between Holocaust survivors and rescuers once a year. But the tradition is coming to an end, as many have died or are too frail to travel. What might be the last reunion of its kind took place when a 92-year-old woman met up with the two surviving family members that she helped hide during the Holocaust, and their descendants.

Sarah Yanai and Yossi Mor introduced Melpomeni Dina (nee Gianopoulou) to their almost 40 family members, all decedents of the Mordechai family, the family of seven that Dina and her two sisters hid during WWII. "There are no words to describe this feeling," Dina told the Jeruselum Post. "It is very emotional for us to be together again."

Keep Reading Show less
Culture
via Facebook / Autumn Dayss

Facebook user and cosplayer Autumn Dayss has stirred up a bit of Halloween controversy with her last-minute costume, an anti-Vaxx mother.

An image she posted to the social network shows a smiling Dayss wearing a baby carrier featuring a small skeleton. "Going to a costume party tonight as Karen and her non-vaccinated child," the caption over the image reads.

Keep Reading Show less
Health