Balloon-powered Internet in Africa
Loon, part of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, in collaboration with Telkom Kenya, launched 35 balloons which have started delivering internet service to Kenya this month, extending online access to tens of thousands of people in the first-ever commercial deployment of balloons. These hover about 12 miles up in the stratosphere — well above commercial airplanes. The balloons will initially provide a 4G LTE network connection to a nearly 31,000-square-mile area across central and western Kenya, including Nairobi. It is claimed that the service is a cost-effective solution to providing internet access to people in remote areas. The Kenya venture is being closely watched by telecom providers in other countries as a test of whether the technology is reliable and the service can be profitable.
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