As citizens of a more evolving,digital,and connected world we must consider the technological opportunities that lay ahead for those who do not have them.In a recent issue published by The Economist called “The World in 2016,” there are countless insights on the new changes politically and economically, but also the advancements in science and technology. One in particular was about worldwide internet access. After further researching this topic I discovered that this lofty goal may be achievable after all.
During the dawn of the internet age the web had become an academic tool to satisfy the human brain, however at the internet’s ‘finest hour’ it has become omnipresent benefit to those who can afford it. In regard to this statement, we must acknowledge the 57 % of people in the world that are still ‘unplugged’ from this use of a global communication network (aka: the internet). Hence, four tech giants ; Google, Facebook,SpaceX,and OneWeb are venturing on an unprecedented endeavor to unleash the power of solar energy infused with low-flying satellites to literally change the future of countries without internet.
Recognizing the magnitude of rural areas in developing countries as well as the high density many of these countries are provided with,will make this task all the more impregnable.However to change these poor circumstances, Google has launched a project called Project Loon . The mission is to have “balloon powered internet for everyone.”But how? The tech behemoth is going to grid the planet with helium balloons almost strewn to each other. These are not your average hot air balloons found at a festival nearby going up a few inches in the air. Each one of them will contain a solar powered transceiver and the balloon itself will act as Wi-Fi access points used as signals to people like you and me hundreds of miles away.Google has established several telecommunications partnerships in order to have a celluar spectrum that is directly connected from your LTE enabled devices, these signals will be sent back down to a ‘global internet’ on planet earth.
Facebook has also taken the challenge to this grandiose global goal and will do so through the use of similar solar powered networks in drones instead of balloons. However these drones can be steered in the air , and will be ready for a large -scale test upcoming in 2016. Working alongside many aerospace and communication experts Facebook will hope to test internet access in the world through this drone in a few months actually.The engineering director, Yael Maguire stated in a recent interview “the plane will operate between 60,000ft (18km) and 90,000ft (27km) – above the altitude of commercial airplanes – so it would not be affected by weather.It will climb to its maximum height during the day, before gliding slowly down to its lowest ebb at night, to conserve power when its solar panels are not receiving charge.”
The two rising companies SpaceX (rocket firm),and OneWeb (satellite company), are aspiring to change the game and use low-flying satellites to provide better service and internet signal in a world already using satellite internet.Through the launch of obviously thousands of satellites respectively for each remote area there will be internet connection provided. However , these ‘satellite missions’ have already been tested and have failed before , but this first occurred when internet was a luxury not a requisite utility. Thus proving that Google and Facebook are once again ahead of the global interconnectivity game.
All in all, the notion of an even more connected world has come to be an unimaginable one. Citizens living in developing nations will truly feel its profound impact daily and more considerably for future generations if companies like Facebook and Google pull off this perplexing yet groundbreaking rendition through the innate virtuosity of technology and science fused into a single most notion of connectivity.