Hiru News contacted the Minister of Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructure for an exclusive interview to discuss about the Google Loon project and his future plans.
Here’s how the interview unfolded.
What is happening with the Google Loon project now?
At the moment we are in the trial period. We have signed for one year of the trial period. The first balloon just entered Sri Lanka and we landed and there was a controversy saying that it was a crash landing. What we say and what the Google has claimed is that it was safely landed. Unfortunately there is a misconception that it had fallen down and it was crash landed but, well, Google has confirmed in letters and in emails that they are happy about the landing.
However, there will be another balloon going up on the 30th in Sigiriya. Where we have the National Youth Camp. Where about 5000 youth will be there and we will be exhibiting the balloon and we will give the technical details about how it works and how it comes down.
What is significant is what the Google Loon will do to Sri Lanka because Sri Lanka will be the only country, the first country where the entire country will have 4G LT technology in the whole world.
What is the benefit of this project to an average Sri Lanka? Are the internet prices going to be cheap?
Yes, absolutely. The prices of data is going to be very cheap. When you have 10Mbps coverage, what you have on your phone right now is less than 2-3Mbps, downloading speeds. That’s very slow. We are not looking at what we are doing right now. Not checking Facebook or downloading music videos. What we are looking is at our children.
We are starting a pilot project and give every student an iPad in nine schools in nine provinces. All the students and teachers will start communicating with each other on the iPads. That’s a digital e-learning/ e-concept that we are working with Microsoft and Guru.lk, it’s a content provider, and they will start this project. It’s the next level of education and the child will grow their knowledge into a different level.
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