Sep 15, 2015

Sri Lanka’s Google Wi-Fi


As a fastest growing of IT industry and IT education, Sri Lanka has considerable internet accessibility in day to day business needs and social requirements. Recently, people who tired with low quality internet accessibility due to distance and interruption has heard ever blessing headline from Google.

 “Sri Lanka is the first country in the world to have Internet access covering the whole country”- Mike Cassidy, Google Vice President and Project Leader on GoogleX Project Loon.

This is not the first time Sri Lanka is experience a new technology as the first South Asian country. It is also the first South Asian country, was imported first cellular phone in 1989, the first 3G facilitated country in 2004 and the first 4G facilitated country in 2013.

The Technology of Loon

Project Loon is a research and development project being developed by Google with the mission of providing Internet access to rural and remote areas. A network of balloons is travelling on the edge of space to provide internet access all over the country.

Loon Importance as Sri Lankans

People get internet facilitated by telecom operators and mobile operated companies. As the nature of geography and climate in Sri Lanka, they would not provide to the most remote areas in the country due to commercial non-feasibility. Mobile operators also have least consideration of uninterruptible service in outstations. They have much priority on high quality service on business centralized areas in capital Colombo, western province. Therefore, almost 6 million internet users and 2.8 millions of mobile users are facing internet access issues with low satisfaction. Loon will help fill in coverage gaps and bring people back online.

Current Status of Sri Lanka’s Google Loon

Sri Lanka’s government and Google signed an agreement to cover the Island with 3G internet under ‘Google Loon project’ on July 28, 2015. The project is handled by the Managing Director of the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA), Muhunthan Canagey.

The agreement is not for testing but for live commercial deployment. Once Google is done with the successful rolling out of the 13 balloons are completed by March 2016.
Those are expected to provide connectivity across the entire country will trigger a drastic reduction in both data and voice call charges whilst Sri Lanka will benefit from a doubling of broadband speeds, where a minimum download speed of 10 Megabytes per second could be expected.

There are wake of some rumors that Sri Lanka will benefit from free wi-fi due to section of government representatives. However, the provision of wi-fi internet services through Google’s Project Loon is not going to be afforded to consumers ‘free of charge’.      

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