Loon deploys first internet connectivity balloon for commercial launch in Kenya

The weather balloons are to enhance internet connectivity in rural areas

Loon balloon project

Loon, a subsidiary of Alphabet, is specialized in providing internet connectivity to rural areas. The company delivers high broadband connectivity in hard to reach places and has got the green light to launch its pioneer connectivity service after getting approval from the Kenyan government. At the moment, the balloons are being tested before they go live.

The project is a partnership between Loon LLC and Telkom Kenya, and enhance the local telecom provider’s services throughout the country. The balloons will rise to 65,000 feet, just around the stratosphere

The balloon project had been in development for the last decade and will be a remarkable achievement of the company which intends to deliver on its first African adventure.

Emergency service connection

In 2018, Loom signed its first commercial contract with Telkom Kenya. Part of the terms of their agreement was to promote internet accessibility in the rural areas of the country through their hot-air balloons. Telkom will have the ability to set the rates charged. With the COVID-19 pandemic, Loom will launch its first LCC balloon over the Kenyan skies at no charge.

The Kenyan president made the announcement confirming that the balloons are mounted “4G base stations” covering over 5,000 square kilometers allowing tens of millions of Kenyans to access speedy internet connections.

The government views the partnership as a win-win, given the emerging status of Kenya as an ICT and innovations hub. Loon was in Peru to assist with connectivity right after the 2019 earthquake. Kenya happens to be its first African customer.


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