Alphabet’s Loon Just Beamed the Internet Over 621 Miles

September 11, 2018, 4:25 PM UTC

Alphabet’s Loon aims at bringing internet access to different areas around the world. And it just reached a major milestone.

On Tuesday, Loon was able to beam an internet signal 1,000 kilometers, or about 621 miles, across seven different balloons. It’s the farthest Loon has ever beamed internet access and since it did it with seven balloons, Loon was able to widen the signal and reach far more people on the ground than if one balloon was emitting Internet signal.

Loon is Alphabet’s answer to a growing number of services that attempt to send internet signal over wide areas. Facebook, for instance, uses drones to achieve the same feat. Loon employs balloons that fly high above areas and beam the internet down to the ground. According to Alphabet, which announced its feat in a post on Tuesday, the latest test was conducted over Nevada and California.

Major tech companies see sending internet signals across wide areas as a major opportunity. There are still billions of people across the world that don’t have internet access. And in some areas, getting access can be daunting, if not impossible. Bringing those people online could present a major business opportunity for Facebook and Google. And it might also entice those people to use their services.

Looking ahead, Alphabet plans to continue testing Loon. The company hopes to make it commercially available in 2019.