Google partners Indonesia’s Telkomsel, Axiata, Indosat on Internet access project

Letters spell the word "Alphabet" as they are seen on a computer screen with a Google search page in this photo illustration taken in Paris, France, August 11, 2015. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

 

Google, now known as Alphabet, has partnered with Indonesia’s three mobile operators, PT Indosat Tbk (ISAT), PT Telekomunikasi Selular and PT XL Axiata Tbk, to begin testing its Project Loon balloons to deliver internet access to remote regions of the country.

Google officials, including co-founder Sergey Brin, and senior members from the three telecom companies signed an agreement on Wednesday to flag off Project Loon in Indonesia.

The country has a population of 250 million people living on 17,000 islands and only 42 million have Internet access.

 

 

According to the company statement, Google’s Internet-beaming balloons are ready to take off on the next phase of their mission to deliver online access in regions where most people live offline.

Google said in a blog post, over the next few years, the company hopes Project Loon can partner with local providers to put high-speed LTE Internet connections within reach of more than 100 million, currently unconnected, to read websites, watch videos, or make purchases.

“From Sabang all the way to Merauke, many of these people live in areas without any existing Internet infrastructure, so we hope balloon-powered Internet could someday help give them access to the information and opportunity of the web,” the company said.

The Indonesian expansion follows extensive testing in New Zealand, Australia and remote areas in California and Brazil.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin envisions Project Loon eventually creating millions of jobs around the world to raise the standard of living as they are able to get online.

“The emotional distance of the world is shrinking, thanks to the communications we enjoy today,” said Brin, who oversees the X lab as Alphabet’s president.

Project Loon started in Google’s X lab for off-the-wall projects. The lab is now run by Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc.

Project Loon Vice President Mike Cassidy said, according to a Reuters report, the Indonesian partnership marks the first time it will send signals from multiple telecommunications companies through a single balloon, and that it will be the service’s largest deployment to date and could eventually reach 100 million users.

Cassidy said the effort is also a model for how Google will move the product into the commercial market. He said, the telecommunications companies will use the trial period to determine pricing, the rollout and billing while Google works out technical issues, according to the Reuters report.

Before his visit to United States, Indonesia Communications and Information Technology Minister Rudiantara had said several telecommunication operators will sign an agreement with Google on pilot projects of Project Loon balloon.

“The operators will sign an agreement with Google to test internet balloon in Indonesia. Google will use the operators network to implement the plans.” Rudiantra had told DEALSTREETASIA last week.

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In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.