Chile Economy — 15 January 2016

Google Project Loon is trying to launch internet service across the Southern Hemisphere using balloons that circle the globe in the stratosphere. Their path includes Chile. Since their service connects with the local phone providers it could become a reality as there would be no reason for the local phone companies to oppose that and put up legal obstacles or pay bribes as other companies have been doing (SQM, Corpesca, Banco Penta, Senator Orpis,…). Instead Google would simply operate as their antennae.

Chile needs this because in rural areas there is no broadband internet or even cell signal due to Chile’s difficult terrain. A cell signal cannot go through a mountain or over a mountain and it is not profitable for the phone and cable companies to run a wire to each house. (Low frequency cell signals can run along the ground, but the cell phone companies do not use that radio spectrum.) In Chile most areas do not even have a UHF or VHF TV signal.

Google has some problems to solve. First it takes too many people to launch a ballon. Second, in recent tests they flew off course. But they are solving these problems and have signed up people to test the service. In Chile you could sign up to be a tester too on their website.

Meanwhile in certain areas a point-to-point radio based internet system is being launched by Parallel Chile. There are probably other companies in Chile doing this too since it has some government backing. I had this system in rural Virginiaand it worked very well. The idea is to transmit the signal via radio instead of land wire. It requires line of site to the transmitter so will not solve the problem for people in small areas with no radio transmitter. Parellel Chile offers unlimited internet at speeds up to 8 mbps. The cell phone companies do not offer unlimited service except for Entel’s 1 mbps service called Chile Connectado or Todos Chile or something like that. I use that and it is frequently down. Plus 1 mbps is too slow.

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