Google's Loon balloons will take to Kenyan skies next year

Alphabet rolling out Internet balloons with Telkom Kenya

Alphabet Will Bring Its Balloon-Powered Internet to Kenya

"Together with Telkom Kenya, we'll provide balloon-powered Internet to regions of central Kenya, starting in 2019", Westgarth said.

The deal comes hot on the heels of the former Project Loon being upgraded from Alphabet's X research division into a separate subsidiary company. The project will provide internet signals across a massive area, using solar panels on board to generate power.

This'll be the project's first deal in Africa, Reuters reports, and it'll see Loon working with Telkom Kenya to get high-speed internet to the East African country's rural and suburban populations.

The pilot will take place within the general area of central Kenya, some of which has been hard to service, due to mountainous and inaccessible terrain.

The Alphabet subsidiary - Loon - used its high altitude balloons in Puerto Rico past year after its infrastructure was monstered by a hurricane.

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"Loon's mission is to connect people everywhere by inventing and integrating audacious technologies", said Loon CEO Alastair Westgart.

"We couldn't be more excited to start our journey in Kenya, and we look forward to working with mobile network partners worldwide to deliver on the promise of Loon", Westgarth said in a blog post.

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.

The balloons are solar-powered, allowing them to remain aloft for upwards of 100 days and reside at 60,000 feet, well above commercial air traffic, providing coverage to an area of 5,000 square kilometers, or 3,106 square miles. Kenya's telecommunications operator, Telkom Kenya and Loon, announced the signing of a definitive agreement to pilot the innovative new 4G/LTE access network service in Kenya.

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