Google’s Project Loon aims to bring balloon-powered internet to remote regions around the world, and that’s an ambitious goal any way you slice it. But we’re starting to hear more about how Google plans to make its moonshot idea a reality. At the TechCrunch Disrupt NY conference earlier today, Googler Astro Teller revealed that the company actually went through a last-minute change in strategy before Project Loon was publicly announced.
The Google X team had spent six months negotiating with “large companies” to buy harmonized spectrum. “We thought this was absolutely critical to the project and we wanted to get it done before we launched,” Teller said. But when the plan was presented to CEO Larry Page, he was largely unimpressed.
“You’re going to hit a double. That’s not interesting,” Page told the team. “You’re going to be really frustrated. You’ll be angry at me for a week. But then you’re going to get creative. You’ll come up with a home run.” To meet Page’s expectations, the team opted not to buy “a relatively thin piece of harmonized spectrum” and decided Project Loon would instead use spectrum that’s already owned by telco companies across the globe.