Up, up in the sky – it’s WiFi!

Virginia News

Balloons bring internet connectivity to remote locations in Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina

RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) – It’s not a bird. It’s not a plane. It’s not superman. But it is something that is out of this world! Okay, that might be a slight stretch, but it is something that is really unique and could help those with poor internet service.

Some residents in Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia are seeing tiny “white dots” in the sky.

These floating “white dots” are balloons from Loon, which are floating at roughly 60,000 feet about ground. There are many balloons that are working together to provide WiFi to areas in Virginia, North Carolina and around the world.

Source: Loon

Here is how the project works. Think of a large weather balloon that floats in our sky and at the base of the balloon is a large box, or payload, that has radio receivers, transmitters and solar panels. The balloon travels to an area then maneuvers and hovers, connecting to a base on the ground.

Source: Loon

From that base, then balloon then provides a WiFi signal which will allow users to transmit data back and forth to the web. These balloons can also “hook-up” allowing for an even greater signal over an area providing more reach.

Screen capture of ADB-S Exchange showing the Loon balloons

This is not new technology – it has been in development for several years, but it is finally being deployed and some are seeing these balloons in Virginia skies. In fact they are being tracked by many different flight programs. You can even track the balloons yourself online.

Source: Loon

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