22:06 GMT +323 October 2018
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    Visitors stand next to a high altitude WiFi internet hub, a Google Project Loon balloon (File)

    'Internet Balloons' to Bring Internet Access to All Corners of Iran

    © AFP 2018 / Marty Melville
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    Iranian authorities have devised a way to provide Internet access to hard-to-reach areas of the country with the help of high-altitude balloons.

    Iranian Space Research Center Head Hassan Haddadpour declared that his organization has finished developing a high-altitude balloon capable of carrying the communication equipment necessary for providing Internet access in remote areas of the country and in case of emergency situations.

    According to Mehr news agency, the ‘Internet balloons’ come in two varieties: low-altitude tethered balloons and high-altitude untethered balloons.

    As Haddadpour explained, the tethered balloons will be deployed in case of an emergency, in crowded areas or in other situations where it is impossible to establish a ground-based communications center.

    ​Such balloons can be rapidly launched in the air and retrieved just as quickly, providing Iranian authorities with the means to swiftly establish Internet communications wherever they require at a moment’s notice.

    Haddadpour also added that the tethered balloons are deployed at an altitude of about 200-300 meters while their high-altitude counterparts soar in the stratosphere.

    "These balloons can provide Internet access to an area of about 20 to 30 kilometers in diameter," he said.

    The new balloons have already been tested during Arbaeen – a Shia Muslim religious observance commemorates the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad.

    It should be noted that a similar program aimed at providing Internet access to rural and remote areas around the world, Project Loon, was launched by Google several years ago. The technology was first tested during trial runs in California's Central Valley, and was officially announced as a Google project in 2013, followed by a pilot experiment in New Zealand.


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