Google’s sister-company Loon is partnering with Telkom Kenya to deliver connectivity to rural areas of the country. Loon is to bring 4G internet access to parts of the country using high-altitude balloons.
Solving the internet accessibility issue
“The goal with the Kenyan deployment is to improve connectivity for large swaths of the country not currently covered by mobile providers. In many such locations, building physical connectivity infrastructure has proven difficult.”
Loon, a subsidiary of Google parent company Alphabet, which developed the technology, was established in 2011, as part of an experimental Project X division.
This project in Kenya, is Loon’s first commercial service in Africa. Telkom Kenya will be providing the internet signals, and Loon will spread it over remote areas of Kenya. Kenya was chosen mainly because it has a more developed IT system than other countries in the region, and its capital Nairobi is a growing technology hub,
Loon’s balloons float high in the stratosphere, around 20km (12.4 miles) above sea level, beyond the altitude of air traffic and weather.
“The tennis-court-sized balloon is made from polyethylene, filled with helium and powered by a solar panel. The balloons are designed to stay aloft for months at a time, and move by surfing wind channels, predicting speeds and directions so that they can navigate in the direction they need to travel. Each balloon carries an antenna, which relays internet signals transmitted from the ground, extending coverage over an area of 5,000sq km.”
Source: BBC Africa