Govt. of India asks Google to select telecom partner for Project Loon

The Government of India has asked Google to choose a telecom operator as partner for testing project Loon in India. Google aims to establish a partnership with a provider who can offer most expensive and scarce spectrum bands.

The company’s been asked to approach the Government of India for the required approvals to test the service in India after selecting a company of their choice.

While the BSNL is ready to offer 2500MHz band, we learnt from reliable sources that Google is willing to have talks with private mobile carriers for a possibility to fetch a higher spectrum band.

According to sources, if Google ties up with the state-owned BSNL, it will be easy for the company to procure the required security clearance to perform the beaming test.

A source close to Telecom Ministry disclosed that it is up to Google to decide whether to settle with 2500MHz or initiate negotiation with the government again. To refresh your memory, Google has already tested Project Loon in New Zealand, America, Brazil, and Sri Lanka.

With the capability to beam 4G Internet wirelessly from 20km above the surface to an area of 40km diameter, Project Loon, if implemented successfully will help telecom companies to cut costs associated with the setup and management of expensive signal towers. Moreover, the project will also replace mobile towers as it can directly transmit signal on 4G cell phones.

The project is also developed in such a way to provide Internet service to all remote villages of the country, which will provide the much-needed boost to Digital India initiative.

Previously, Google had interacted with Government officials in October 2015 over the Project Loom Internet-beaming test, but the talks fell through because Google asked for expensive 700MHz-800MHz spectrum band, which is not assigned to any network carrier.

Moreover, Government has set a base price of Rs. 11485 crore per MHz with the condition that Google should purchase a minimum of 5MHz.

With so much controversy surrounding Spectrum surfaced over the recent years, it will be optimum for both Government and Google to adopt a tendering approach for a transparent deal.