BSNL to partner with Google for Project Loon as it gets govt in-principle nod

Communications and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Wednesday after a meeting with Google’s CEO Sunder Pichai that the government has in-principle agreed to partner with Project Loon on a pilot basis and state run BSNL has been assigned to partner it.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai in New Delhi. (Photo: PTI)

The government has in-principle agreed to partner with Google’s Project Loon on a pilot basis and state run BSNL has been assigned to partner it, communications and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Wednesday after a meeting with Google’s CEO Sunder Pichai.

“In-principle we agree for a pilot project for Project Loon. We are quite open on the project and BSNL will partner with Google for it,” Prasad said. The minister said that his ministry will consult the ministry of civil aviation and other security agencies for the project.

The telecom minister on December 11 told the Parliament that the government has rejected Google’s Project Loon over fears that it would interfere with cellular transmission and create technical glitches.

Google’s Project Loon aims at launching balloons in the airspace, which will act as mobile BTS’s to offer affordable internet access to rural areas.

Earlier in the day, Pichai said, “Project Loon will launch balloons in the sky to help reach out to rural areas”.

Elaborating the same, Google vice president (Access Strategy and Emerging Markets) Marian Croak said the company is “passionate” about building and deploying new Internet infrastructure around the world. “We are testing these high altitude balloons which literally act as almost like floating cell towers…,” she said.

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