Google has hired a former ViaSat/WildBlue senior executive, Tom Moore, to head up its Project Loon high-altitude broadband balloons which are intended to deliver internet services to poorly-served areas of the world.
Project Loon is part of Google’s ‘X’ research and development division, and as well as ‘Loon’ also has people working on Google’s driverless cars.
Tom Moore co-founded the satellite-based broadband service Wild Blue in 1998, and will be Project Loon’s general manager.
Project Loon has been testing its concept with various telcos around the world including Telstra in Australia, Vodafone New Zealand and Telefonica in South America.
Its balloons are capable of staying aloft at heights of about 18km for up to 187 days (although more typically for about 100 days) and Loon’s software helps keep the balloons remain over land using various stratosphere wind layers and passing its signals from balloon to balloon and then back to a ground station.