Google tests balloons to beam internet from near space

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Google is launching balloons into near space to provide internet access to buildings below on the ground.

About 30 of the superpressure balloons are being launched from New Zealand from where they will drift around the world on a controlled path.

Attached equipment will offer 3G-like speeds to 50 testers in the country.

Access will be intermittent, but in time the firm hopes to build a big enough fleet to offer reliable links to people living in remote areas.

Google[x] chief technical architect Richard DeVaul said: "Balloon-powered internet may sound crazy and at some level it kind of is. But sometimes if you want to make a huge big leap, you have to try something crazy."

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