Google's Loon to deploy internet balloons in Kenya from 2019 - Tech

Alphabet rolling out Internet balloons with Telkom Kenya

Loon a subsidiary of Alphabet, the American multinational conglomerate, on Thursday announced it will bring internet to remote parts of Kenya beginning 2019.This will be Loon's first commercial service in Africa.

The technology involved uses high-altitude balloons that operate as inflatable cell towers. This provides fourth generation (4G) coverage to areas with lower population densities.

These balloons float at 60,000 feet above the sea level which is enough to float above the air traffic, wildlife, and weather events so it won't cause inconvenience. "We couldn't be more pleased to start in Kenya", said Loon Chief Executive Officer, Alastair Westgarth. Loon's equipment is powered by on-board solar panels.

The announcement comes just a week after Loon graduated from Alphabet's secretive "moonshot factory" known as X. That means it's considered a full-fledged company beside sibling companies including Google and self-driving auto developer Waymo.

The provision of this high speed internet service will make it Alphabet's first commercial deal in Africa.

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Loon is one of Alphabet's "Other Bets" technology units which includes self-driving unit Waymo, and Wing - an experimental drone delivery system.

Less than two weeks after being spun off as a standalone business, Alphabet Inc.'s internet balloon company Loon LLC has landed its first paying customer: African mobile provider Telkom Kenya.

Alphabet's Project Loon was a big success in Puerto Rico after they were hit by a hurricane a year ago and the folks in Kenya took note of this success. "With this association with Loon, we will be partnering with a pioneer in the use of high altitude balloons to provide LTE coverage across larger areas in Kenya".

Loon has not revealed any plans beyond its work in Kenya, but expect to see more locations below balloons as the eight-day old company expands.

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