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Google has expanded its Project Loon tests to the Nevada desert and, for the first time, into licensed radio spectrum.
Google declined to comment on the secret trials, but a local official confirmed they are related to Project Loon, and government filings point to several recent balloon launches.
Loon is an ambitious attempt by Google to bring Internet access to vast swathes of the planet that currently have little or no connectivity. The project was unveiled last June, and Google said at the time it was experimenting with balloons flying around 20 kilometers (65,000 feet) above the Earth, using radio links in an unlicensed portion of the spectrum at around 2.4GHz.
But in late September, Cyrus Behroozi, the head network engineer for Loon, quietly applied to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for permission to test Loon across a large portion of Northern Nevada, in two chunks of radio spectrum that are used as a pair for 4G LTE services.Google's Testing Project Loon In LTE Band in Nevada [pcworld.com]