Earlier in January 2016, the Indian government gave Google green light to proceed with piloting Project Loon in the country, representing a major step forward in the company's long-term plans for bringing Internet connectivity to remote locations in India. Now, according to new reports citing Google's Vice President & Managing Director in India, Rajan Anandan, the company is in talks with local telecom providers in order to put the plan into practice.
Project Loon is one of Google's numerous ambitious projects aiming at making technology more accessible to everyone. Specifically, Project Loon is Google's answer to the lack of Internet connectivity in various rural and remote areas of the world, aiming to offer 4G LTE Internet access in regions where service providers have no infrastructure. Google aims to solve this issue by launching a series of high-altitude balloons in the stratosphere, creating an aerial wireless network linking users in rural areas to distant ground-based ISP stations. Although still in its infancy, development on Project Loon began in 2011. Two years later in the summer of 2013, Project Loon was tested for the first time in New Zealand, and in mid-2014 Google began testing its service in Brazil. Now, according to new reports, following the Indian government's decision to allow Google to test Project Loon in the country, the company is reportedly in talks with "a number" of local telecom providers in order to make Loon a reality. Although Anandan didn't reveal which Internet service providers might team up with Google for Project Loop, unnamed sources claim that Google is currently discussing a partnership with India's BSNL, a state-owned telecom provider with its headquarters located in New Delhi. According to the VP "the government has been very supportive – we are working on a pilot and we are working our way through it. In India, the important thing is to work through things". Needless to say, no exact time-frames as to when Google will begin testing Project Loon in India have been confirmed.
It's worth noting that Google is not the only company working on bringing Internet connectivity to rural areas in India. Microsoft is planning something similar by combining solar-powered based stations and TV white spaces to bring high-speed Internet connectivity in areas lacking both Internet access and electricity.