Alphabet Inc Loon will next year deploy it system of balloons to beam high speed internet access with Telkom Kenya to cover rural areas and out-of-town area populations.
“We will work very hard with Loon, to deliver the first commercial mobile service, as quickly as possible, using Loon’s balloon-powered Internet in Africa,” Aldo Mareuse CEO Telkom was quoted by Reuters News agency.
Instead of building networks of ground-based cell towers that provide coverage spanning a few miles, the project launches helium-filled balloons into the stratosphere flying 60,000 feet above Earth, far higher than commercial airliners, birds, and the weather.
Each polyethylene balloon can provide internet coverage over 2,000 square miles and stay aloft for months, making them well-suited to connect areas where low population density or difficult terrain prohibits building out cell tower networks.
C.S Joe Mucheru told Reuters that the team is still working out contracts, “Hopefully, once that is done, we can be able to see almost every part of the country covered.”
A balloon transmits internet over an area 80 km in diameter, Kenya is approximately 800 Km east to west and 1000 km north to south. About 140 Alphabets loons would be able to cover the country with internet. A Microsoft backed Kenyan start-up has been using under-utilized television frequencies to connect some of those rural communities.