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Will Google Test Project Loon in the U.S. Next Year?

Zacks Equity Research

A new filing with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) seems to indicate that Alphabet GOOGL owned Google plans to start testing Project Loon Internet balloons on a large scale across the U.S.

In the filing, Google has sought license to test experimental radios that apply wireless spectrum in the millimeter bandwidth in all 50 states as well as in Puerto Rico. Therefore, Google could start testing high-altitude balloons beginning Jan 1 for 24 months. The documents however don’t mention Project Loon by name.

Project Loon is developed by Google’s secretive X Labs to make the Internet available worldwide using balloons. Project Loon balloons encircle the earth at twice the height of commercial aircraft, thereby enabling mobile operators to provide wireless networks to underdeveloped and developing nations, and sparsely populated or remote areas, thereby eliminating the need to run fiber optic cable or construct cell towers.

Project Loon balloons have already been tested in New Zealand and Brazil. Also, in October, Google had announced that it is partnering with Indonesia's three largest telecom companies in 2016 to test the balloons in the world's fourth most densely inhabited country.

Google plans to apply balloon technology to make Internet available in remote areas of the world.  But its Internet access ambitions are not limited to balloons alone. It is also developing drones to deliver Internet access and plans to carry out tests in New Mexico and Oregon.

Providing Internet access will increase Google’s search user base and thereby drive revenues. It will also help it to keep competition at bay and maintain its leading position.

Google however faces competition as rival Facebook FB is also testing drones and satellites capable of delivering Internet access.

Google has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks include NVIDIA Corporation NVDA and Texas Instruments Inc. TXN, both sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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