Google Reports Progress in Bringing Internet Service to Rural Areas
The owner of technology company Google has reported progress in its plan to offer Internet service to rural areas around the world.
Google's parent company, Alphabet, calls the plan "Project Loon." Its goal is to increase access to the billions of people currently without internet connectivity.
Alphabet has no plans to use traditional wiring, which can be costly. Instead the idea is to float huge balloons about 20 kilometers above the surface of the Earth.
The balloons would act like telecommunications satellites, providing internet service to the rural areas. The huge objects would ride air currents to either stay in place or move to another position high in the skies.
At first, the idea was to have a large number of balloons circling the planet. One balloon would move away from an area while another arrived to guarantee service in the affected areas.
But Alphabet announced it has found a way to make balloons float over one area for an extended period.
In a statement released online, the company said its software "can now send small teams of balloons to form a cluster over a specific region where people need internet access. This is a shift from our original model...in which we planned to create rings of balloons sailing around the globe, and balloons would take turns moving through a region to provide service."
The company said the discovery was made during tests of balloons launched from the island of Puerto Rico to float in Peruvian airspace. The company said some of the balloons stayed in the same area for as long as three months.
The company said the discovery should speed up the project and reduce costs: "We'll reduce the number of balloons we need and get greater value out of each one."
But Project Loon workers must still find ways to increase the life of the balloons. A British Broadcasting Corporation report says the longest service for a single balloon was 190 days.
Google has also explored the idea of providing internet service to rural areas using solar-powered drone aircraft. But it cancelled that project because of technological barriers and high costs.
I'm Bryan Lynn.
1.rural areas 农村地区
Growing numbers of people in the rural areas are too frightened to vote.
2.as long as 只要；长达
You can phone me at work as long as you don't make a habit of it.
3.speed up 加速
You notice that your breathing has speeded up a bit.
4.access to 接近；通向...入口
They now have access to the mass markets of Japan and the UK.
1.At first, the idea was to have a large number of balloons circling the planet.
At first 起初；一开始
At first they all thought I was a loony.
At first I felt very resentful and angry about losing my job.
2. One balloon would move away from an area while another arrived to guarantee service in the affected areas.
move away 离开；搬走
He moved away and broke off relations with the family.
He advised Evans to sell up his flat and move away to the country.
谷歌公司的母公司Alphabet称之为“谷歌气球计划”（Project Loon），该计划旨在为当前没有互联网的数十亿人提供网络 。
这些气球可像通信卫星一样为农村地区提供互联网服务 。巨型气球将利用气流保持平稳或漂浮到另一处高空位置 。
起初，他们计划让气球环绕着地球 。假如气球漂离某个区域，那么另一个气球可以到位保证该地区的互联网服务不受影响 。
该公司在网络发布的一份声明中表示，公司的软件“可在需要互联网接口的特定区域发送一组少量气球升空形成集群 。这是最初版本的一种升华——原计划将气球环绕在地球周边，气球依次移动到某个地区提供互联网服务 。”
该公司表示，这一发现是在对波多黎各岛升空的气球移动到秘鲁领空进行测试时得出的 。该公司表示，一些气球在同一地区停留的时间长达3个月 。
谷歌气球计划的工作人员仍然需要想方设法提高气球寿命 。据英国广播公司报道称，单个气球的最长寿命为190天 。
谷歌公司还尝试过用太阳能无人机为农村地区提供互联网的方式 。不过，因技术壁垒和成本过高取消了该项目 。