Google tells FCC its balloon-based wireless tests in the E-band are safe

Tools

Google filed documents with the FCC this week claiming that its planned tests of a balloon-based wireless communications system pose no health or environmental risks and won't interfere with other users in the E-band.

The filing, which was first reported on by Business Insider, almost surely refers to Google's Project Loon project. The company unveiled Project Loon in September 2013, outlining a plan to use balloons to provide reliable Internet service to unserved and underserved areas.

Google began testing the service in 2014 and late last year asked the FCC for an experimental license to be granted for 24 months beginning Jan. 1, 2016. In its latest filing, Google responded to concerns that have been raised about tests of airborne and terrestrial transmitters in the 71 GHz to 76 GHz band and 81 GHz to 86 GHz band, collectively known as the E-band.

"The proposed experimental operations in fact present vastly less risk… from RF exposure than other transmissions the Commission routinely authorizes," according to the filing. "Because Google has developed a roust non-interference methodology and has developed protocols for discontinuing transmissions if harmful interference is possible or reported, its operations do not pose a meaningful risk to licensees and should be approved."

Google said in 2014 that it expected to provide LTE service via its balloons in rural South America, southern Africa or Oceania by 2016. The company has been largely secret regarding Project Loon, though, and it isn't clear when and where service might launch.

For more:
- see this Business Insider report
- see this FCC filing

Related articles:
Google could be preparing to expand Project Loon tests across U.S.: report
Report: Google has 'almost perfected' Loon technology for rural broadband coverage
Google X head talks of failing fast, Loon and autonomous cars
Google hopes to have Project Loon customers by 2016

Filed Under