Laugh at Google if you will, and one has to admit some of their schemes sound a bit “looney,” such as the Loon project and Titan aerospace drones developed to act as wireless relay stations. But one has to give them credit for running on the edge. And, they are still pushing the envelope. They got the FCC to give them the nod to start conducting nationwide airborne and terrestrial millimeter wave testing. They were granted an experimental license, which, of course sparked informal objections from the sky is falling set, registering their concerns about health effects and interference on surrounding life forms.
Granted this is up there in the 70 GHz+ bands, which are quite capable of cooking living tissue, but at 75,000 feet, there really isn’t much living tissue nearby. And passing though the beam quickly isn’t likely to have any side effects either. So shooting narrow beam widths at balloons shouldn’t be that much of a problem. Don’t we already do that with satellite operations?
As much as I like to laugh at Google and hate them for their sneaky spying tactics, I love that they are out there on this. If this comes to pass, it has the potential to ease up the bandwidth crunch by being another offload data platform. And with 70-plus percent of the traffic being data, nowadays, offloading much of it will keep the frequencies from developing data gridlock. Wi-Fi is being used for that so why can’t Google get in the game. Even if their platforms are drones and balloons?