Google has tried — and failed — to get regulatory signoff to conduct trials of its Project Loon initiative in India, but it looks like that's about to change. The government's communications and IT ministry is said to be in talks with Google over a Loon pilot, which will last for four days.
Citing the proverbial anonymous source, ET Tech writes:
We are trying to test the effectiveness of Loon in the interiors of the country, since there is already ample connectivity in urban areas.
According to the publication, the National Informatics Centre is tasked with finding the location for the pilot, which will likely be in remote areas. One of the challenges in getting Project Loon off the ground is interference with cellular transmissions, as the 700MHz to 900MHz airwaves used by Loon are used by commercial cellular services. It looks like the civil aviation ministry is now ready to sign off on the initiative as the government looks to bring connectivity to rural areas:
We will identify the location and then approach the civil aviation ministry for permission. It will be done like in the case of joy rides-we will provide specifics in terms of the starting and closing time of the pilot for them to be adequately informed.
The trial may be conducted in either Andhra Pradesh or Maharashtra, with talks between the NIC and Google slated for later this week.