Uttarakhand Launches A WiFi Balloon To Bring The Internet To Remote Villages For The First Time




Uttarakhand Launches A WiFi Balloon To Bring The Internet To Remote Villages For The First Time
Uttarakhand Launches A WiFi Balloon To Bring The Internet To Remote Villages For The First Time
Taking the objective of achieving a digital India forward, the Uttarakhand government rolled out free Wi-Fi services through an Wifi Balloon to provide internet services to remote villages.
With the Indian government bringing free WiFi to stations all across the country, individual states meanwhile are attempting their own methods to bring the same service to their unconnected citizens. Uttarakhand has managed to do just that, bringing the Internet to some of its remote villages.
Uttarakhand Launches A WiFi Balloon To Bring The Internet To Remote Villages For The First Time
Uttarakhand Launches A WiFi Balloon To Bring The Internet To Remote Villages For The First Time

While the Indian government has successfully brought WiFi connectivity to 400 railway stations in partnership with Google, there is still a lot of areas that are devoid of stable internet connectivity.

The mountainous state in North India will use giant floating hot balloons and aerostat technology to bring WiFi services in areas where internet can’t be installed the traditional way. The technology which comes as a partnership between Uttarakhand’s ITDA (Information and Technology Development Agency) and IIT Bombay will use hydrogen to rise up above the ground and is expected to float for 14 days in one go.
Uttarakhand Launches A WiFi Balloon To Bring The Internet To Remote Villages For The First Time
Uttarakhand Launches A WiFi Balloon To Bring The Internet To Remote Villages For The First Time
Based on Google’s Project Loon, the hot air balloon will be made to move to a remote location and will be monitored in real time. There’s a base transceiver antenna alongside a modem which will provide calling services as well as internet to the villagers in a given area, depending upon the range of the system.

A directional antenna will be used to beam connectivity to a certain location and thus connects wirelessly as a sandwich between satellites and on-ground broadcasting systems.

At 6 metres long, the aerostat technology is the work of IIT-Bombay, with hydrogen being used to lift it off the ground. It’s fitted with a base transceiver antenna to allow a calling network, and a WiFi modem to provide villagers in the coverage area with Internet, as well as surveillance cameras.

Uttarakhand Launches A WiFi Balloon To Bring The Internet To Remote Villages For The First Time
Uttarakhand Launches A WiFi Balloon To Bring The Internet To Remote Villages For The First Time

Sinha told TOI the the aerostat cost the agency Rs 50 lakh to set up, and is capable of providing free Internet in a 7.5km range, at a download speed of up to 5 Mbps. “Anyone in the range will be able to connect to the Wi-Fi which will be free initially,” he said. “Anybody will be able to log in without a password.”

Estimates indicate 680 of the 16,870 villages in Uttarakhand lack mobile and Internet coverage, a problem largely caused by the difficulty in laying cables in the hilly region. ITDA says it’s committed to bringing villages like these onto the digital map. “We developed the remote village of Ghes into a digital village and everyone is happy with the effort,” said Rawat. He adds that the plan is to eventually provide free Internet to even more unconnected villages in the future.

In addition, the surveillance cameras on board the aerostat will be used in emergency situations. “When disaster struck Kedarnath in June 2013, the survivors were unreachable as mobile towers had collapsed and roads were cut off,” Sinha said. “Aerostat technology can be used in such situations for real-time monitoring, act as a mobile phone tower and to guide search and rescue operations.”

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