Google’s internet air-balloon service Loon has dispatched a bigger fleet of balloons to Kenya after successful launches from the launch site in Puerto Rico this week .
The Loon balloons will complement eight others that are a part of a network integration exercise in Kenyan airspace. the primary balloon arrived within the country’s airspace on April 2, aweek after the govt of Kenya approved the service deployment.
The balloons will provide Loon’s first ever commercial connectivity services to Kenyans in conjunction with local partner, Telkom Kenya.
Flying at a height of roughly 65,000 feet within the Earth’s stratosphere, the balloons are expected to start arriving above Kenya within the coming weeks.
The balloons navigate on air currents to their target destination through a circuitous route, which is decided by Loon’s automated navigation software.
Upon arrival in Kenya, the balloons maintain a comparatively stable position over the target coverage area. They also move up and down within the stratosphere to catch different air currents, taking short trips during a fixed geographical area to supply 24-hour internet coverage to customers on the bottom .
The Loon service will use its 4G/LTE Internet solution to supply stable, reliable and fast connectivity to unserved and under-served communities in Kenya. Initial coverage areas include Nairobi, Machakos, Nyeri, Nakuru, Kitui, Nanyuki, Narok and Kisii.
Loon’s CEO Alastair Westgarth says: “We’re extremely excited to be sending additional balloons to Kenya for further testing with Telkom, and that we anticipate to starting to provide service within the near future. We’re very grateful for the support of the govt and every Kenyan as we work to bring balloon powered Internet to Kenya as quickly as possible.”
Telkom Kenya’s Chief executive officer (CEO) Mugo Kibati noted: “These balloons will be used to expedite integration testing of this pioneer LTE service. we’ll glean off insights from those tests to means integration of all other balloons that are dispatched from Loon Inc.’s launch sites and are to arrive in Kenya over the coming few weeks. Once the balloons are in situ , this new technology will complement Telkom’s ongoing strategy to further widen its network coverage, confirming the telco as Kenya’s preferred data network.”