The next era of connectivity is on the horizon, or rather more accurately hovering above it, as tech giants launch their test projects to provide internet coverage for the harder to reach parts of the world.
Google have test piloted Project Loon a few times since June 2013 near places such as New Zealand’s South Island and Sri Lanka, a series of high- altitude balloons equipped with LTE (more commonly known as 4G LTE) that rides the wind currents in the stratosphere.
Facebook have also developed a fleet of solar-powered drones called Aquila now ready to hover at altitudes of 60,000 to 90,000 feet. These can be steered and controlled more directly, constantly circling a two mile radius to stay aloft.
Both the balloons and the drones can be air born for around three months.
Combined with lower priced smartphones coming to market we are seeing the next evolution of connectivity looking set to be pretty rapid.
There’s still a way to go to stabilise the launch and flight of both, plus the clean up exercise once they come back down but the effort to connect the whole world with the internet is accelerating.
Next we’ll be in orbit, talking to the moon, connecting galaxies… well, maybe.