By Matt Grossman


Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, is winding down an initiative that aimed to provide internet access in remote areas of the world from high-flying balloons.

The project, known as Loon, used balloons flying in the stratosphere to beam internet coverage to areas 200 times larger than can be served by typical cell towers, Alphabet said. But Loon was not able to reduce costs enough to make the business sustainable, the project's leader, Alastair Westgarth, wrote on Thursday in a blog post that was linked from Loon's website.

In 2013, Google introduced Loon as a project that could help make internet access affordable in less developed countries.

The project's balloons lacked propulsion and drifted above the planet's surface with the surrounding air. Loon worked on developing navigational control by programming the balloons to climb or descend in order to find favorable winds.


Write to Matt Grossman at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 22, 2021 08:02 ET (13:02 GMT)

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