Moonshot Projects: Alphabet Grounds Loon

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Moonshot Projects: Alphabet Grounds Loon

Google’s parent firm, Alphabet, has shot down it’s Loon project, a nine-year-old project and a two-and-a-half-year-old spin-off firm, after failing to find a sustainable business model and partners for one of its most prominent moonshot projects.

Loon was a radical approach to expanding Internet connectivity. Instead of trying to extend the Internet from the ground, Loon takes to the sky via a network of balloons, traveling along the edge of space, to expand internet connectivity to rural areas, fill coverage gaps, and improve network resilience in the event of a disaster.
The idea behind Loon was simple: A cell tower’s coverage area is limited by the height of its antennas. By lifting these antennas up into the stratosphere, Loon could deliver connectivity over a much larger area. The project was coupled to a number of ambitious use-case ideas, such as using AI to boost agricultural production.
In a blog, Loon CEO Alastair Westgarth explained while it

found a number of willing partners

interested in the balloon-based internet connectivity technology over the past eight years,

we haven’t found a way to get the costs low enough to build a long-term, sustainable business.

moonshot projects

Author: Tim Cole
Image Credit: x.company

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