The Government of India has asked Google to select a telco operator as a partner for its ambitious Internet project –Loon.
Earlier in November 2015, Google had approached the Indian government to set up the Loon project – a drone-based Internet transmission to provide Internet connectivity using large balloons. The project has the potential to transmit signal on 4G mobile phones.
BSNL as The Telecom Provider?
It was speculated that the Santa Clara based company would partner with BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited) for testing using its broadband spectrum. BSNL is an Indian state-owned telecommunications company that provides complete telecom services solution to customers.
An official said, “Google wants to test the Loon Project in expensive and scarce spectrum bands. It has been asked to partner with any telecom operator that can meet its requirement and then approach the government for testing Loon”.
If Google chooses to partner with BSNL, it can experiment with telecom company’s spectrum band. The company actually wanted to conduct the test in 700Mhz -800Mhz band instead of 2500MHz.
However, 700Mhz bandwidth is the most expensive as well as effective but not yet been allocated to any telecom company in India. TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) has said that it would be conducting the auction of this spectrum. It would be priced at Rs 11,485 crore per Mhz.
The official also said that Google might operate as a technology provider and not Internet service provider. Google, yet so far has not commented on the telecom partnership for Loon.