Internet access can be a pain in the rear for people living in rural areas, but a solution could be high in the sky.
According to the New Zealand Herald, Google has been testing a new Internet technology by floating large WiFi balloons over various locations in New Zealand to see if it is a better method for gaining Internet access in remote areas of the world. The technology is cheaper than laying down fiber cables or other methods of Internet distribution, which makes it an intriguing option.
Google Balloon Internet better known as Project Loon sent large helium-filled balloons up to 20 kilometers into the stratosphere that would receive a signal from an antenna attached to the user’s home. The signal bounces between balloons to a main ground station. Eventually the signal would be sent back to an Internet user’s computer on the ground.
The first person to utilize this technology was Charles Nimmo, a dairy farmer near the small town of Leeston.
He was one of 50 people in the area who signed up to participate in the Project Loon experience.
"It's been weird," said Nimmo of the project. "But it's been exciting to be part of something new."
Prior to the research project Nimmo had been using satellite Internet services after abandoning dial-up access four years ago. He sees the new technology as being a better alternative than satellite because the cost should be reduced. Nimmo’s satellite bill has exceeded $1,000 in a month before.
Like many farmers the very first thing Nimmo did when he had Internet access was to look at the weather.