The government expressed concerns over Google’s Project Loon by stating that it might cause interference with cellular transmissions of mobile phone operators in India.
“The proposed frequency band to be used in the Loon Project of Google is being used for cellular operations in India and it will lead to interference with cellular transmissions,” Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
The news comes at a time when telcos are struggling to fix the call drop issue in the country wherein the TRAI had ordered telcos to pay 1 rupee per call drop—which could cost telcos at least $8billion.
Under Project Loon, Google is sending high-altitude at a height of 20 kms above the earth to beam an aerial wireless network with 4G-LTE speeds, covering ground area of 40 kms in diameter. Google has already tested the project in New Zealand, California and Brazil.
The twist to the story is that Google’s project was approved for testing by the government’s IT wing–the DeitY( Department of Electronics & Information Technology) had approved the testing in early November after a “committee under the chairmanship of DeitY’s secretary was formed to look into the matter.
Government sources told PTI in November that Google may initially partner with BSNL for testing this technology by using broadband spectrum in 2.6GHz band. However the terms aren’t clear as of now.