Loon starts its first commercial balloon internet service in Kenya

Loon, the company that offers Internet connectivity through floating balloons, born in 2011 in Alphabet, Google’s parent company, until it became an independent company in 2018, begins today its first commercial service in Kenya, after several months of testing. , and with some delay for not obtaining final approval from the government until the beginning of this year, in collaboration with Telkom Kenya.

Alastair Westgarth, CEO of the company, points out in a statement that during the tests, they have managed to connect more than 35,000 unique users in about 50,000 square kilometers, highlighting that most of them have not been aware that they have connected to the Internet to through a balloon.

According to the quality of service tests, at the end of June they managed to reach a descending speed of 18.9Mbps, an ascending speed of 4.74 Mbps, and 4.74 Mbps, and both in that and in successive tests, they used the service for the use of applications such as WhatsApp, YouTube, email services, video calling services, and more.

From now on, and over the next few weeks, Loon will deploy up to a total of 35 balloons or more, also considered as flying vehicles, which will work together as a carefully choreographed and orchestrated balloon dance, and depending on the position :

A flight vehicle can alternate between actively serving users, operating as a connecting link in our mesh network to transmit the Internet to other vehicles, or repositioning itself to return to the service region.

The balloons will be floating at a height close to 20 kilometers, being able to stay up to more than 100 days in the air before returning to land, and that will take into account the stratospheric winds to develop their movements.

So far, Loon has provided Internet connectivity in areas devastated by natural disasters, such as in 2017 in Puerto Rico after a hurricane or last year in Peru after an earthquake, and the company is already preparing to launch its commercial service in remote parts of the country. the Amazon and within Mozambique.

Image Credit: Loon

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