Monthly Archives: November 2017

Google’s Project Loon connects 100k in Puerto Rico

Google’s Project Loon connects 100k in Puerto Rico

Although many view the Internet as a global phenomenon, more than half of the world’s population are still without Internet access. Project Loon is an initiative by Google designed to extend Internet connectivity to people in rural and remote areas worldwide,  using a network of balloons traveling on the edge of space. The new technology can not only help fill coverage gaps but it can also help to bring people back online after disasters, as seen in Puerto Rico after cellphone towers were knocked out by Hurricane Maria.

“In times of crisis, being able to communicate with loved ones, emergency services and critical information is key,” – Alastair Westgarth, project lead at Project Loon

A Loon balloon on its way to Puerto Rico from Nevada

This is the second time Loon has been tested during a disaster relief effort with balloons sent to flood zones in Peru last year. The balloons have helped enable texts, emails and basic web access, however Alphabet, Google’s parent company, have stressed that Loon is still new and unpredictable despite the recent success.

How does Loon work?

Loon is a network of balloons travelling on the edge of space. The Loon balloons float in the stratosphere, twice as high as air planes and the weather. In the stratosphere, there are many layers of wind, and each layer of wind varies in direction and speed, the balloons go where they’re needed by rising or descending into a layer of wind blowing in the desired direction of travel.

Google has partnered with various telecoms companies to share cellular spectrum to allow people to connect to the balloon network directly from their phones and other LTE-enabled devices. The signal is then passed across the balloon network and back down to the global Internet on Earth.

5G government competition with million pound grants

5G government competition with million pound grants

5G is expected to be capable of delivering extremely fast data with estimates between 10 – 50 Gbit/s compared with today’s average 4G download speed of 15 Mbit/s. In fact, back in 2013 Samsung tested 5G at 1Gbps and journalists reported that a HD movie could be downloaded in less than 30 seconds. In 2014, Samsung set a mobile speed record of 7.5Gb/s in another 5G trail, while estimates predict the speed will reach 10Gb/s, with transfer rates as high as 800Gb/s further down the line, taking your download time of a full length film to around a second!


“We are determined to be one of the first countries in the world to use 5G. In these very early stages we want all ideas, from all parts of the country, that will help us get the technology and the roll-out right to have a nationwide network of 5G innovators.” – Matt Hancock, Minister for Digital

Fast track to 2017 and the government is hoping that the UK will be ‘at the forefront of 5G’, with a new competition ‘5G Testbeds and Trials’. The competition aim is to encourage the development of a UK ‘5G ecosystem’ with technology and deployment, testbeds and trials to stimulate the development of 5G use cases and business models. Applicants will have the chance to win grant funding of between £2 million and £5 million, out of the £25 million total budget.

“ The Programme is designed to help address some of society’s biggest challenges, such as those faced in health and social care, focusing on areas where the Government’s role can have the most impact. ” – Matt Hancock, Minister for Digital

Two groups of organisations will make use of Testbeds: connectivity providers and their supply chains; and industry and public sectors that could uncover new ways of working with 5G capabilities. Here are some examples:

5G testbeds

The competition opened on October 23rd 2017, and will close registration on December 6th 2017.

HTC has unveiled their new devices

HTC has unveiled their new flagship devices

HTC has introduced the new U11+ and U11 life, although those with their heart set on the U11+ will have to wait until the 20th of November.


While the U11+ takes the screen size up a notch from it’s predecessor the original U11, at 6″, compared to 5.5″, the life boasts a more compact form at 5.2″. Both models feature water and dust resistance, curved edges and a fingerprint sensor but the back on the life model is acrylic while the plus model is glass for a more premium design. However, the largest difference in design between the two new models is the quality of the display. The  Life features a 1080 x 1920 Super LCD display while the U11+ sports a QUAD HD+ (2880 x 1440 pixels, 18:9) display that could rival the Samsung Galaxy 8.


Key specs

The IP68 rating on the U11+ is the highest you'll find on a phone. This means you can dunk it in more than one meter of water, worry free, although we don't recommend it. The U11+ also has BoomSound Hi-Fi Edition which the HTC has claimed is 30 percent louder than the U11 life, thanks to the additional space. The U11+ also packs a new battery, which offers a 30% increase in battery stamina compared to the previous U11. Alongside the Quad HD+ screen and faster processor, quite clearly, the U11+ spec's knock the life model out the park. However, for a budget smartphone, the U11 life does offer the latest version of Android, water and dust resistance (although a weaker version than the U11+) and a 16MP camera, which interestingly is higher in pixels than the U11+. It's worthing noting however that the U11 life features the 'purest form of Android' while the U11+ features Android 8.0 Oreo with HTC's Sense overlay. For life users, this does mean no bloatware and guaranteed updates. 

U11 Life

The 'mini' U11

32GB of Storage & 3GB RAM or 64GB & 4GB RAM

  • 5.2" Super LCD display
  • 16MP front camera
  • Android 8.0
  • Octa-core Snapdragon 630 processor
  • IP67 water & dust resistance 
  • 2,600mAh battery

From £349 SIM free


Flagship device

64GB of Storage & 4GB RAM
or 128GB & 6GB RAM

  • 6" Quad HD+ display
  • 8MP front camera
  • Android 8.0 
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor
  • IP68 water & dust resistance 
  • 3,930mAh battery

From £699 SIM free

SIM free & contract deals available 

If you are interested in either of HTC's new releases, please do not hesitate to get in touch with your account manager on 01252 854352 or email We are always more than happy to help!