Drones, balloons, rockets — Google has seemingly endless schemes for delivering Internet to us. We may be largely stuck on the ground, but that doesn’t stop us from beaming info all over the place. In a new letter to the FCC, Google outlines their case for spectrum. Rather than get into the spectrum wars carriers are engaged in, google is going over their heads; literally and figuratively. Rather than frequencies you and I are largely familiar with, Google wants some in the 24GHz neighborhood.
Your smartphone operates somewhere between 700MHz and 2.4GHz, typically. It’s there where carriers are snapping up spectrum from FCC auctions, spending record amounts to ensure their network is the best.
Spectrum as high as 24GHz was previously believed to be out of the range for use as mobile broadband. Google thinks their balloons and other airborne means of providing connectivity to terrestrial Earth would be a perfect way to make use of that spectrum.
In a letter to the FCC, Google says the spectrum would be “useful for offering broadband access via airborne platforms such as high-altitude balloons or unmanned aerial vehicles”.
We’ve known Project Loon was meant to bring connectivity to the world, but previous reports had it as a for-rent system, where local telecoms could use it to expand their coverage. Google has also entertained drones for use with broadband Internet, much like Facebook wants to do. A recent report even pegged them as being interested in partnering with SpaceX on some sort of space-bound Internet service.
There were other instances Google thinks the spectrum could be useful (backhaul, device connectivity), so they’re likely going to test the spectrum for some time — if they get it. The FCC hasn’t responded to their request yet.