Displaying items by tag: Project Loon

Alphabet’s revenues up 24 percent year-on-year

Written on Tuesday, 31 October 2017 12:33

Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, announced its financial results for Q3 on Oct. 26, for the quarter ended Sept. 30. The company’s revenues were up 24 percent year-on-year, reflecting strength across Google and other bets. “Our momentum is a result of investments over many years in fantastic people, products and partnerships,” said Ruth Porat, FCO of Alphabet.

The company had a “terrific quarter” said Porat in a conference call with media. Revenues of $27.8 billion were up 24 percent year-on-year, and also up 24 percent in constant currency. Advertizing revenues benefited from strong performance in sites, which was powered by strong results in mobile search.

The company saw growth in network revenues which was led by its programmatic business. Alphabet also benefited from growth in revenues from cloud, play and hardware.

Alphabet’s performance was strong in all regions, Porat said. US revenues were $12.9 billion, up 21 percent year-on-year. Europe, Middle East and Africa revenues were $9.1 billion, up 23 percent year-on-year. Asia Pacific revenues were $4.2 billion, up 29 percent versus 2016. Other Americas revenues were $1.5 billion, up 33 percent year-on-year.

The company’s operating expenses were $8.8 billion, up 11 percent year-on-year, reflecting the change in the timing of its annual equity refresh cycle from the third quarter to the first quarter of each year. Operating income was $7.8 billion, up 35 percent versus 2016, and the operating margin was 28 percent. Other income and expense was $197 million.

Google contributed revenues of $27.5 billion, up 23 percent year-on-year. In terms of the revenue detail, Porat said, Google site revenues were $19.7 billion in Q3, up 23 percent year-on-year, led by mobile search, and complemented by desktop search and strong performance from YouTube.

Meanwhile, Alphabet’s Network revenues were $4.3 billion, up 16 percent year-on-year, reflecting the ongoing momentum of programmatic AdMob, a Google-owned advertizing company. Other revenues for Google were $3.4 billion, up 40 percent year-on-year, fueled by cloud, play and hardware.

Total traffic acquisitions were $5.5 billion or 23 percent of total advertizing revenues and up 32 percent year-on-year. Other Bets revenues – generated by Nest, Fiber and Verily – were $302 million. Operating loss including the impact of SBC was $812 million for Q3.

“Nest continues to drive ongoing product expansion with a number of notable launches including the Nest Thermostat E, which is offered at a lower price point than the Nest Learning Thermostat,” said Porat. “Nest also announced a home security solution that includes the Nest Secure alarm system, Nest Hello video doorbell, the Nest Cam IQ outdoor security camera and corresponding software and services.”

Porat added, “Waymo continues to expand its geographic presence and announced this morning that it will commence winter testing in Michigan to build on our progress to-date addressing the challenge of autonomous driving in cold weather, particularly with snow, sleet and ice. Michigan is the sixth state where Waymo is testing its self-driving vehicles. Over the last eight years, Waymo's cars have self-driven in more than 20 cities.”

Porat also mentioned Project Loon, a research and development project being developed by Alphabet subsidiary X with the mission of providing Internet access to rural and remote areas. Alphabet has been collaborating with companies such as SES and AT&T to deliver emergency Internet service to the hardest hit parts of Puerto Rico.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai said he has been “really proud of the progress this quarter, launching popular new products and continuing to grow our business in new areas. It's been particularly exciting to see our early bet on artificial intelligence pay off and go from a research project to something that can solve new problems for a billion people a day.”

Published in Finance

Project Loon and SES restoring connectivity in Puerto Rico

Written on Monday, 30 October 2017 11:38

Project Loon, a network of balloons traveling on the edge of space, designed to extend Internet connectivity to people in rural and remote areas, developed by Alphabet subsidiary 'X' (formerly Google X), has been working with satellite company SES to restore 4G/LTE connectivity to disaster-stricken Puerto Rico.

The connectivity is powered by Project Loon's targeted cell coverage and SES Networks' O3b FastConnect, a rapidly deployable satellite terminal delivering fibre-like performance. Together with local technology partners, SES and X are providing reliable high-performance connectivity to Puerto Ricans whose lives have been devastated by the hurricane Maria and who have limited means of communication.

"Our thoughts are with those whose lives have been impacted by this devastating hurricane," said Steve Collar, CEO of SES Networks. "Access to connectivity is crucial in getting those affected the information and help they need after a natural disaster. We are really pleased to be working with X and their other partners to deploy high-performance connectivity to Puerto Rico and to play a part in the island's restoration efforts."

Project Loon balloons float in the stratosphere, twice as high as airplanes and the weather. By partnering with telecommunications companies to share cellular spectrum, Project Loon enables people to connect to the balloon network directly from their phones and other LTE-enabled devices. The signal then passes across the balloon network and back down to the global internet on Earth.

"This is the first time we have used our new machine learning-powered algorithms to keep balloons clustered over Puerto Rico, so we're still learning how best to do this," said head of Project Loon Alastair Westgarth. "As we get more familiar with the constantly shifting winds in this region, we hope to keep the balloons over areas where connectivity is needed for as long as possible."

Project Loon was launched in Puerto Rico by Alphabet's X in collaboration with the government of Puerto Rico, the US Federal Communications Commission, Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency and US telecommunications company AT&T.

Published in Satellite Industry

Google’s Project Loon has come to a halt in Sri Lanka. This project beams internet to remote areas of the world via balloons, abandoned on the island nation, according to a minister. Sri Lanka regulators have been unable to allocate Google a radio frequency for the airborne project without breaking international regulations.

Project Loon uses roaming balloons to beam internet coverage to areas of the world lacking adequate connectivity. Google wanted to move ahead with connecting Sri Lanka’s 21 million people to the internet, even those in remote connectivity blackout areas. The project uses giant helium-filled balloons which act as floating mobile base stations, beaming high-speed internet down to ground-based telecom towers.

But Communications Minister Harin Fernando says the Geneva-based International Telecommunications Union (ITU) did not approve of Google using the same frequency as Sri Lanka’s public broadcasters to provide its internet services.

“It boils down to a legal issue,” said Fernando in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo. “The government, as well as Google, are lobbying the ITU, but if we fail there’s a risk Google will go to another country that is not bound by these rules.”

The first of three balloons – which roam the stratosphere at twice the altitude of commercial aircraft – entered Sri Lankan air space a year ago after going airborne in South America.

The government and Google planned a joint venture where Colombo would receive a 25 percent stake, without any capital investment, for sharing its cellular spectrum with the project, AFP reported. One of the balloons was found in a Sri Lankan tea plantation after its maiden test flight last year, although authorities described it as a controlled landing.

Around one-third of Sri Lankans have regular access to the internet, a figure expected to swell through the Loon project. It was the first country in South Asia to introduce mobile phones in 1989, and also the regional frontrunner when it unveiled a 4G network three years ago.

Published in Infrastructure

The world’s largest social network is planning to connect millions in developing countries via its Project Aquila initiative. Facebook is building solar-powered drones which will fly for months at a time above remote regions, beaming down an internet connection. With 1.6 billion active users, Facebook estimates there are another 1.6 billion people in the world in need of an internet connection.

The project began when Facebook purchased a small British business called Ascenta, which specializes in solar-powered drones. Ascenta’s owner, Andy Cox, is now the engineer running Project Aquila, according to a report by the BBC. The first drone was produced in a warehouse in Somerset, South West England. It was dismantled at the end of June and taken in pieces to Arizona, where it was reassembled for its first flight.

The drone aircraft has the wingspan of a Boeing 737, but is just a third of the weight of a typical family vehicle. The drone reportedly stayed airborne for 90 minutes and performed well during the test flight, but it did suffer some damage when it landed on a stony field some distance short of the runway. When the drone eventually goes into service, ideally it will rest on grassland.

“Eventually we will fly at 60,000-90,000 feet, above conventional air traffic, where it’s very cold, and for periods of up to three months,” Cox told BBC. “That means we can loiter around a given waypoint providing the internet without interfering with other traffic.”

There is still a lot of work to do until Project Aquila drones can surpass the current solar-powered aircraft record of continuous flight, which is two weeks. The entire upper surface of the aircraft will need to be covered with solar cells, while keeping it as aerodynamic as possible.

“It needs to be light. Every kilo of extra weight means we need more power to fly it,” said Cox. The drone will fly on solar power during the day which will replenish the batteries, which account for about half of the weight of the aircraft, for night flight.

The project is reportedly high on Facebook’s priority list, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally tracking its progress. The CEO was recently in Arizona to witness the first flight, and the global head of engineering, Jay Parikh, has been making regular trips to Somerset to oversee progress of the project.

“Our mission is to connect everyone on the planet,” said Parikh, adding that Project Aquila is just one of many technologies that Facebook is developing to bring connectivity to remote regions of the world, aiming to help the telecoms industry bring the cost down of connectivity.

Another similar project by Google, Project Loon, uses high altitude balloons to connect people to the internet in the same remote regions that Project Aquila is targeting. Both companies are playing their part to bring connectivity to remote regions to transform peoples’ lives, but one cannot help but sense competition between the two tech giants.

While it would seem like these projects would be welcomed by communities with open arms, there has been controversy. For example, India rejected the Facebook Free Basics project, aiming to give citizens limited, free web access via mobile phones, claiming that Facebook was power-hungry. To avoid similar complications, Facebook has emphasized that with Project Aquila, it will provide the connection, leaving local telcos responsible for providing services.

Published in Telecom Vendors