Report: Google's Project Loon tests using LTE spectrum in the Nevada desert

Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Project Loon airborne Internet tests have reportedly expanded to the Nevada desert, where the company is relying upon paired radio spectrum that is commonly used for LTE transmissions.

While Google declined to comment, PC World found a local official from Winnemucca, Nev., who confirmed Google is running Project Loon experiments from the Winnemucca airport. The official declined to provide more information due to a confidentiality agreement between the city of Winnemucca and Google.

According to PC World, during September 2013, Cyrus Behroozi, the head network engineer for Loon, applied to the FCC for an experimental license to conduct tests in northern Nevada using two bands of radio spectrum that are often paired for LTE services. The application did not specify the air interface that would be used in the tests, aside from noting the signal would fall into a class that includes LTE, WiMAX and other point-to-point microwave data transmission systems.

The FCC approved Google's request in November, permitting six months of testing a terrestrial radio platform and another up to 65,000 feet in the air. Both platforms are located within 100 miles of tiny Carlin, Nev.

PC World dug up data from Bravo Airspace showing that six advisories for high-altitude balloon launches have been issued in the area so far this year. The most recent was issued for April 7 and concerned the planned launch of a high-altitude balloon from the airport at Winnemucca, Nev., which is about 100 miles west of Carlin.

Project Loon first came to public attention in June, when Google announced its vision of deploying a ring of radio-equipped balloons to fly around the globe on stratospheric winds 12 miles above the earth and deliver Internet access at 3G or better speeds. At that time, Google launched 30 balloons and initiated a pilot program in the Canterbury area of New Zealand.

The company subsequently expanded Project Loon testing in California's Central Valley, about a two-hour drive from the company's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

For more:
- see this PC World article

Related articles:
Google Project Loon: Around the world in 22 days
Google engineers parachutes, wins new patent for Project Loon
Google's Project Loon struggles to maintain power in stratospheric cold
Google's Project Loon is full of hot air, contends famed balloonist
Google's Project Loon eyes a balloon 'flock'
Google's Project Loon begins tests in California
Google contends Project Loon, balloon-powered broadband, is crazy enough to work

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