Kenya will get internet access by High-altitude balloons
Loon, which is linked to Google through parent company Alphabet Inc. has chosen Kenya as the home of its first announced commercial deal for delivering internet access to hard-to-reach areas using high-altitude balloons. The company announced it will work with Telkom Kenya to deliver 4G/LTE cellular access to Kenya in 2019.
Google first launched the project in 2013 and its goal has been to connect everyone on the planet. The announcement comes just a week after Loon graduated from Alphabet’s secretive “moonshot factory” known as X.
The technology will be tested in central Kenya, which has been difficult to service due to the mountainous or inaccessible terrain. The high-altitude balloons have already helped regions Peru and Puerto Rico devastated by floods and hurricanes.
“We’re excited to take a big step forward for our business and mission,” Loon CEO Alastair Westgarth, said in a Medium post. Westgarth says Alphabet marks a significant milestone in a journey that began in 2013 when a New Zealand sheep farmer became one of the first to connect with Loon test balloons.
Notably, Facebook has also been trying to deliver the internet via solar-powered drones. Last year, it completed a test flight above Arizona, after an earlier flight resulted in a crash.