Google has a new secret project, codenamed SkyBender. According to The Guardian, the project is using an “optionally piloted aircraft (OPA)” called Centaur and multiple solar-powered drones to deliver high-speed Internet from the air. It aims to experiment with the high-frequency millimeter waves, which is believed can transmit data up to 40 times faster than 4G LTE systems.
“The huge advantage of millimeter wave is access to new spectrum because the existing cellphone spectrum is overcrowded. It’s packed and there’s nowhere else to go,” says Jacques Rudell, a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle and specialist in this technology.
To house their aircraft and drones, Google rent a 15,000 square feet of hangar space in the glamorous Gateway to Space terminal designed by Richard Forter for Virgin Galactic spaceflights in New Mexico. To use the hangar, Google has to pay $1,000 per day to Virgin Galactic.
The SkyBender project is the part of Google Access team, which includes the project Loon as well. The Project Loon uses unpowered balloons which are travelling through the stratosphere, designed to provide Internet access to rural and remote areas.
They have permission from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to continue this project until July.