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Indian DEITY tells Google to choose broadband bride

Project Loon needs carriers' spectrum before it can beam heavenly broadband to India

By Richard Chirgwin, 29 Feb 2016

The Indian government has asked Google to tie the knot with a local carrier, so it can begin trialling Project Loon in the country.

The Chocolate Factory's heavenly broadband project attracted the attention of India's DEITY (Department of Electronics and Information Technology) in November 2015, but access to spectrum has been a sticking point.

According to The Indian Express, India's telco bureaucrats wanted the trials to use 2.5 GHz spectrum, but Google's preference was for the 700 MHz spectrum.

While 700 MHz operation would give the balloons a bigger footprint on the ground, the government is hoping for a budget fillip from its upcoming auction in the band.

The country's regulator is hoping for around US$1.67 billion per MHz (minimum 5 MHz) that the carriers bid for.

The government official who spoke to The Indian Express hinted that a deal with state-owned telco BSNL might be to Google's advantage, since it “should should resolve the spectrum band sought by Google”.

Earlier this month, Google's long negotiations with Sri Lanka's government bore fruit with balloons entering that country's airspace for tests. ®

The Register - Independent news and views for the tech community. Part of Situation Publishing