Google wants to keep the remote areas of India Wi-Fi-connected through its Project Loon initiative.
The company is currently in talks with a number of telecommunications operators in the area to gain service provisions for the pilot program of the project. Launching Project Loon in India will only become possible through partnering with a local telco, said Google.
Rajan Anandan, the managing director of Google for India and Southeast Asia, said that while Project Loon actually works, it is at a simplistic level and can be described as a sky-based infrastructure. He added that since the actual provisioning of the service will depend wholly on a local telco, Google still needs to discuss Project Loon with a number of telcos in the area.
Google first started testing the Wi-Fi-beaming high-altitude balloons in June 2013, when it launched 30 balloons from New Zealand's South Island. The goal is to establish "a ring of uninterrupted connectivity at latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere." This way, pilot testers from these latitudes would be able to remain connected through the Wi-Fi-powered balloons.
Apart from India, Google also has plans to launch Project Loon in Indonesia sometime in 2016. The announcement came from Google co-founder and now CEO of Alphabet Larry Page at the Global Forum 2015 in San Francisco, where he had a 20-minute appearance.
According to Page, without a doubt, Project Loon is a life-changing Internet service. He also made mention of how cellphones have changed everyone's life.
Anandan, in an exclusive interview with Economic Times, also hinted on the possibility of setting up an office in India for the company's early-stage investment fund Google Ventures. The executive declined to provide more details on the matter or a definite time frame.
In 2015, the company established an office in India for Google Capital.
"Google Capital is here (in India)," said Anandan in the interview. "Google Ventures is only a matter of time ... India actually has 50 Series-A investors, we only have five Series-D investors. So, there is a gap in late-stage investing and we decided to close that gap."
Google Capital, according to Anandan, would allow the company to accelerate its investment pace in India. Since it is on an early stage, the company believes that focusing first on mentoring instead of ventures would be a better and wiser move.