Google hopes to someday use drones to broadcast the internet from the sky, and theyâ€™re asking the federal government for permission to test their broadcasting equipment in New Mexico. Â The company filed an application with the FCC (which controls electronic transmissions), revealing limited details about their plans to use their new technology. Â Some of that equipment was acquired as part of their purchase of Titan Aerospace earlier this year. Â Googleâ€™s proposed test site is located directly south of Santa Fe, New Mexico, directly east of Albuquerque, and South East of Las Vegas (see the map below).
In the application Google writes:
Google recently acquired Titan Aerospace, a firm that specializes in developing solar and electric unmanned aerial systems (â€œUASâ€) for high altitude, long endurance flights. These systems may eventually be used to provide Internet connections in remote areas or help monitor environmental damage, such as oil spills or deforestation. The STA is needed for demonstration and testing of [REDACTED] in a carefully controlled environment.
As I wrote in April, Googleâ€™s purchase of Titan is largely about internet delivery. Â Titan Aerospace drones can stay aloft for extended periods of time and can fly well above the altitude where commercial aircraft fly and below where satellites orbit, beaming an internet signal almost from space. Â It seems Google is hoping to make the plans for their newly acquired drones a reality, and is quickly moving forward with testing.
In their application, they wrote: â€œThese systems may eventually be used to provide Internet connections in remote areas or help monitor environmental damage, such as oil spills or deforestation. The STA [Special Temporary Authority] is needed for demonstration and testing of [REDACTED] in a carefully controlled environment.â€
Google, like Facebook is interested in being an innovative internet provider. Â Their â€œProject Loonâ€ envisions a network of balloons to deliver internet throughout the world. Â Project Loon began with a pilot test in June 2013, when thirty balloons were launched from New Zealandâ€™s South Island and beamed Internet to a small group of pilot testers. The pilot test has since expanded to include a greater number of people over a wider area. Â Google clearly wants to provide the internet, irrespective of terrestrial limitations.
Google is not only experimenting with internet broadcasting drones, the company is also working on delivery drones. Â Although, regulatory obstacles put in place by the FAA have forced Google to test their drones abroad.
Gregory S. McNealÂ is a professor specializing in law and public policy.Â You can follow him onÂ Twitter @GregoryMcNealÂ or onÂ Facebook.
Article source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/gregorymcneal/2014/09/19/google-wants-internet-broadcasting-drones-plans-to-run-tests-in-new-mexico/