The Internet is afire with news that Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL ) plans to float Internet-delivering balloons 12.5 miles above New Zealand. My colleagues couldn't be more pleased. I couldn't be more nonplussed. The news does nothing for investors.
Yeah, I know, I sound like a party pooper. You'll hate me even more after you watch Google's introductory video for Project Loon:
"Someday soon, everyone will really mean everyone." Internet egalitarianism never sounded so cute, or so awesome. Cheaper, faster, everywhere. What's not to love? Nothing. Until, that is, you look under the hood: Project Loon will deliver Internet service at... 3G speeds.
So five years ago, in other words. Especially here in the U.S., where AT&T announces new 4G sites constantly in a race to catch up with Verizon. So coveted is broadband spectrum that Sprint Nextel and DISH Network are headed to court to fight over beleaguered wireless provider Clearwire. Sprint is seeking to block DISH's latest bid of $4.40 a share.
Google isn't trying to create the next Clearwire via Project Loon. Not yet, anyway. Instead, the goal is to bring at least some Internet access to areas of the world that have no alternative. It's admirable, but it's not an extension of the Google Fiber effort. Balloons delivering 3G would be worthless to users in regions where faster speeds already exist.
How about we celebrate Project Loon for what it actually is: a gentle reminder that Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are as much interested in making the world a better place as they are in making a profit.
Do you agree? Leave leave a comment to let us know what you think of Project Loon, and whether you would buy, sell, or short Google stock at current prices.
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