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SEARCH NEWS: Google blimps to carry WiFi across Africa

Google has announced that it is intending to build a wireless network stretching from sub-Saharan Africa to Asia. The network will be created by using high-altitude balloons and blimps with the aim of connecting around a billion people to the internet.

Unlike traditional wireless connections, the signal will be carried by these high-altitude platforms that can transmit to areas of hundreds of square kilometres.

To drive the project forward the search engine has prepared an ecosystem of affordable smartphones running Android on low-power microprocessors.

Trials are underway in Cape Town, South Africa, where a base station is broadcasting signals to wireless access boxes in high schools over several kilometres.

In a blog post Google said: “White space has the advantage that low frequency signals can travel longer distances. The technology is well suited to provide low cost connectivity to rural communities with poor telecommunications infrastructure, and for expanding coverage of wireless broadband in densely populated urban areas.”