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Alphabet's Loon Goes Live With Its Commercial Internet Service in Kenya

Flying 20km over rural Kenya, Loon, in partnership with Telkom Kenya delivers Africa's first balloon based, internet service to rural Kenya. (Photo: Loon)

Alphabet's Loon on Monday announced that its high-altitude balloons are now providing internet service in Kenya to subscribers of Telkom Kenya. This is the first application of balloon-powered internet in Africa and first-ever non-emergency use of Loon. Since its early tests, the company says it has succeeded in connecting over 35,000 unique users, delivering services such as OTT voice/video calling, streaming, and web connectivity.

Current state of coverage: The initial service Kenya spans nearly 50,000 square kilometers across western and central parts of the country, including the areas of Iten, Eldoret, Baringo, Nakuru, Kakamega, Kisumu, Kisii, Bomet, Kericho, and Narok. To cover this area, Loon has deployed a fleet of around 35 separate flight vehicles that are in constant motion in the stratosphere above eastern Africa. "As we continue to add balloons to achieve this target fleet size in the coming weeks, service availability will become more consistent," says Alastair Westgarth, CEO of Loon.

"We don't think we can – or should – replace the ground and space-based technologies that exist today." Westgarth says terrestrial, stratospheric, and space-based technologies will all work together to serve different parts of the globe and use-cases. "The key will be coordinating these various solutions so they provide a seamless connection."

By CircleID Reporter – CircleID's internal staff reporting on news tips and developing stories. Do you have information the professional Internet community should be aware of? Contact us. Visit Page

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