UBNT can help provide internet access to people in rural areas. Google and Facebook have stressed the importance of internet access in the developing world as important to their future growth. Drones and balloons can be deployed to provide access. Is this a future competitive threat to Ubnt’s business?
See Andy’s response at the bottom of this thread when I posted an article about Project Loon a month or so ago.
Yes it is a threat but its hard to gauge just how big a threat it could be. In the developing world, I think that Google is targeting people that would rather have free service at any speed or reliability, rather than fast and reliable service that UBNT is going for. Most of the people UBNT is targeting are business’s that are trying to start their own companies (ISP’s or WISPS. So while I see it as a threat, I don’t see it causing a problem for UBNT within the next 5 years. It is something to keep an eye on though and reassess as we go along.
Hope that helps,
When you deploy balloons or drones, do you need to get permission from various governments? I am sure neither Google nor Facebook intend the deployments in the States only. How easy or difficult it is to get those permissions? How can foreign governments be sure that the balloons and drones are just providing harmless internet connections and do not also host something for CIA? Additionally, once the drones and balloons are deployed, would it be more difficult for those governments to shutdown the internet in their countries in case they do not want certain information to be circulating? This has been frequently done in some countries.
That’s a great question mview. I am sure that to deploy drones, at least in the U.S, that it will require approval from the FAA. At least that is what I read on the Amazon deployment of drones. But I don’t think that Google will be deploying these in countries with good infrastructure. This would mostly be deployed in third world countries. I am thinking like Africa. The latency off of these type of devices I think would be high, because they would need to be rather high in the atmosphere. So with the latency high then I am not sure if the speeds would be more than 128 kbps. But this is pure conjecture on my part. Because I haven’t seen any papers on what speeds they are getting.