Alphabet Will Bring Its Balloon-Powered Internet to Kenya

Alphabet Will Bring Its Balloon-Powered Internet to Kenya

The company had successfully used the technology to bring Internet connectivity to people in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastated the island past year.

Alphabet's Project Loon will work with Telkom Kenya to provide internet service to parts of the country starting in 2019.

The equipment was developed by Alphabet innovation laboratory, X under the name Project Loon and it has since become a subsidiary of Alphabet, the parent company of Google.

Mr Banks said Loon could be transformational for these areas, but he also warned that many people were concerned about building a reliance on commercial, foreign technology for something as critical as connectivity.

"We are extremely excited to partner with Telkom for our first engagement in Africa", said Loon CEO Alastair Westgarth.

According to the report, this is Alphabet's first commercial deal for Loon in Africa.

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Loon has been testing a network of balloons, traveling along the edge of space, to expand internet connectivity to underserved areas and disaster zones.

Each balloon carries an antenna, which relays internet signals transmitted from the ground, extending coverage over an area of 5,000sq km.

Kenya's ICT ministry has since lauded the move saying it will bring down costs and deepen internet use across all segments of the population. They float at approximately 18,000m above sea level, much higher than wildlife, air traffic and bad weather events.

The deal, between new Alphabet spin-out Loon and Telkom Kenya, will provide rural and suburban populations in Kenya with high-speed internet service.

Loon and Telkom plan to launch the internet service next year (although this is subject to regulatory approval) and Telkom's boss Aldo Mareuse explained the telecoms business is committed to rolling out the service as quickly as possible.

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