Dan Cohen AUTHOR The General Services Administration (GSA) last week began accepting bids in an online auction for a former communications facility run by the Navy in the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia.The 122-acre campus at the former Navy Information Operations Command Sugar Grove once supported up to 450 personnel and their families in a self-contained community which includes residential housing among its 105 buildings. The Navy base closed in September, eliminating one of Pendleton County’s largest employers and the state’s only active-duty military installation, reported Stars and Stripes.The site is “ideal for a corporate training center, a university or academic campus, a spa/clinic, movie studio or mountain resort,” according to its listing on the GSA Auctions website. The high bid listed for the property is $1 million; a closing date for the auction has not been determined.Kansas-based KVC Health Systems, a child welfare and behavioral health care organization, previously has said it is interested in acquiring the site to turn it into a skills training college for young adults transitioning out of foster care. The federal government had offered to turn over the facility to the state at no cost for use as a state prison, but Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) turned down the overture.
Loon’s parent company, Alphabet, is planning a commercial launch of the service for later this year. Alphabet Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has recruited some well-known and experienced industry veterans to help get its wireless broadband project Loon to market.On Tuesday Alphabet announced a new advisory board and said one of the founding members will be Craig McCaw, who started McCaw Cellular. McCaw Cellular was one of the first cellular companies in the US and was sold to AT&T in 1994. Also serving on the new board: Marni Walden, a former marketing executive with Verizon, and Ian Small, who worked as chief data officer for Telefonica and is now CEO of Evernote. Project Loon, started in 2016, uses solar-powered balloons as Wi-Fi carriers to deliver signals from high above. In July, Alphabet spun out Loon from X, the division of Alphabet responsible for its most experimental projects, including self-driving cars, internet-connected contact lenses and delivery drones.The company said previously it was planning a commercial launch of Loon later this year. Thus far, the balloons have been used in testing, and deployed for emergency relief, as in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. In preparation for the commercial launch, Loon CEO Alistair Westgarth said in a blog post, the company intends to partner with mobile network operators throughout the world. The idea is that Loon can help these wireless carriers expand internet coverage and attract new customers. To do that, he said, Loon needs to add “some serious expertise to our ranks with a new advisory board that brings together top wireless innovators with decades of experience in the industry.”Loon has already struck at least one partnership deal, with Telekom Kenya, to help the African carrier extend its coverage to hard to reach parts of the country where reliable communications connections are absent. CNET Magazine: Check out a sample of the stories in CNET’s newsstand edition.The Smartest Stuff: Innovators are thinking up new ways to make you, and the things around you, smarter. Share your voice 0 Google Alphabet Inc. Tags Post a comment Mobile