It is the first balloon internet to be launched in Africa, and the first commercial implementation not necessary in the world, the two companies said.
According to the statement, the project will use a fleet of 35 or more balloons floating 20 kilometers above the earth, in constant motion in the stratosphere, to provide a 4G LTE service that covers 50,000 square kilometers across central and western Kenya.
Project Loon balloons were previously used to provide emergency connectivity after crises like Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, when mobile networks fail.
The project, which has been in the works for years, has been accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic and the global need for networking. The Loon project has the ability to connect “target communities with emergency services, as well as provide improved and alternative communication capabilities during that time,” said the CEO of Loon Inc. Alistair Westgarth.
The balloons are made of polyethylene and are approximately the size of tennis courts.