Alphabet to Deploy Balloon Internet in Kenya With Telkom in 2019

Pappi Hex

After successfully testing and delivering Internet service to remote places in Kenya using flying balloons, Alphabet's Loon on Thursday announced that it would deploy its system of balloons across Kenya so as to boost high-speed Internet access coverage to both rural and urban areas.

The technology which was developed by Alphabet's X lab is known as Project Loon. Loon is a subsidiary of Alphabet, the company which owns Google.

According to reports, Loon is to beam high-speed Internet access with Telkom Kenya starting next year. This will be the company's commercial first deal in Africa.

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This same technology was used by US telecom operators to provide connectivity to more than 250,000 people after the hurricane that struck Puerto Rico last year.

Loon's mission is to connect people everywhere by inventing and integrating audacious technologies,'said Alastair Westgarth, the chief executive of Loon.

Telkom Kenya comes behind market leader Safaricom and Bharti Airtel in Kenya. However, Telkom Kenya hopes the technology will help achieve full Internet coverage of its population.

"We will work very hard with Loon, to deliver the first commercial mobile service, as quickly as possible, using Loon's ballon-powered Internet in Africa," Chief executive of Telkom Kenya, Aldo Mareuse said.

The Loon service uses balloons which are powered by an on-board solar panel to provide 4G coverage to areas with lower population densities.

Project Loon researchers even say that it is possible to use machine learning to predict weather systems. This allows the firm to control where the balloons goes so as to focus on a particular region instead of traveling around the globe.

Kenya has a population of over 45 million people with telecom operators covering just the towns and cities while the vast part of rural Kenya are left out. This deal will definitely give Telkom Kenya an edge over the major operators.

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