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Alphabet no longer wants to blanket the earth with internet balloons

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An Alphabet Project Loon balloon

This has enormous implications for Loon's economic and operational viability: "we can put together a Loon network over a particular region in weeks not months, and we can get greater value out of each individual balloon", X said in a Google+ post.

Teller said Loon is one of the more mature projects at X and that it "would be a natural state to graduate into its own company" but there were not plans at the moment for that to happen.

Google's venture to beam the Internet to remote areas of the world via balloon has hit a legal snag in Sri Lanka that could see the project abandoned on the island, a minister said Thursday. The Alphabet subsidiaries operating outside Google, a hodgepodge of far-flung projects, have lost a combined $7.1 billion during the past two years.

Instead of blankets of balloons being ushered away by the breeze, these smaller groups can "dance on the winds in small loops to remain where needed".

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In 2013, Google ran its first tests for Project Loon, an ambitious effort to circulate broadband-emitting balloons across the globe. Though more testing needs to be done - and there's still no news on when Project Loon will officially be in use - this method is more cost effective and less work to manage.

But just a year after testing began in Sri Lanka regulators have been unable to allocate Google a radio frequency for the airborne venture without breaching global regulations.

"The government as well as Google are lobbying the ITU, but if we fail there's a risk Google will go to another country that is not bound by these rules".

Alphabet frames Project Loon as a noble endeavor striving to enable people now without reliable internet service to tap into the vast reservoir of knowledge, entertainment and conveniences available online.

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