Photograph by Marty Melville — AFP/Getty Images

How Google could make billions from balloons

Mar 03, 2015

Project Loon, Google's project to use balloons to bring Internet access to underserved parts of the world, could bring in billions of dollars, according to a report in The Verge.

Google VP and Project Loon lead Mike Cassidy sees it like this: if the balloons bring Internet access to just 5% of the 4.5 billion people currently without it— and Google gets $5 a month from each user—that would mean tens of billions in revenue for the company.

Of course, Cassidy's figure doesn't factor in the costs of running the ballon-based Internet system, which could be high. And since most of the underserved parts of the world are in developing areas, $5 a month is a lot to charge.

Project Loon began as an experimental project for the company about four years ago. Google is currently testing the Internet-beaming balloons in New Zealand, with ambitions to expand the project to other parts of the world.

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