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Mobile & Wireless

Project Loon

Earlier this month, Mike Cassidy, a project director at Google’s high-risk research division X, woke before dawn in the Northwest Brazilian state of Piau . It was already warm and humid. He drove for an hour to a clearing in a rural area and helped his team launch several high-altitude balloons with a payload of Internet connectivity technology-the nub of the project he directs called Loon. Then he jumped into another car to race against the balloons’ flight path, speeding along an unpaved road, dodging chickens and pigs, and finally arriving at Agua Fria, a tiny community on the outskirts of the town Campo Maior. Cassidy pulled up to a rural schoolhouse that had never been able to receive high-quality Internet signals. (Locals sometimes climb trees to try to get a signal for their mobile phones.)

Read the full story at Wired.

New York City

Mayor Bloomberg’s government is often finding ways to keep The Big Apple as connected to the internet as can be. Tuesday, in an effort to bring more connectivity options to its residents (and tourists), the City of New York announced that it’s teaming up with Cablevision and Time Warner Cable to add WiFi hotspots to 32 parks across the five boroughs. Of course, these will be available in addition to free services already provided by companies such as AT&T in select parts of the city. Unlike with similar offerings, however, these new hotspots will require potential users to be Cablevision Optimum Online or Time Warner Cable broadband subscribers in order to get free access. Those who have the proper credentials will be able to connect gratis via a WiFi-enabled device anytime, while non-subscribers can do so at no cost for up to 30 minutes every 30 days, or for 99 cents per day.

Read the full story at Engadget.

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