Google is launching online balloon services in Kenya

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.

Balloons are launched from locations in the United States and are brought to Kenya by wind farms. According to Project Loon, more balloons will be released as more flying experience over Kenya it is obtained.
The technology will “offer connectivity to many Kenyans living in remote regions that are insufficiently or completely undeserved, and as such remain at a disadvantage,” said Muja Kibati, director of Telkom Kenya, in a statement issued Tuesday.

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.

IN television address in March, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said the balloons would allow the country to maintain its competitive advantage in information and communication technology and innovation on the continent.
Only 28% Africa 1.3 billion people have access to the internet, according to a 2019 report by the Alliance for Affordable Internet. Loon and Telkom Kenya hope to close that gap.

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