Kenya to get first deployment of internet balloons from Google parent

Alphabet to deploy Loon internet balloons in Kenya's skies in 2019

Alphabet rolling out Internet balloons with Telkom Kenya

According to the report, this is Alphabet's first commercial deal for Loon in Africa.

In 2013, Google unveiled Project Loon, a plan to send a fleet of balloons into the stratosphere that could then beam internet service back down to people on Earth.

Wing and Loon have been part of the Alphabet "moonshot factory" known as X, creating projects with potential to disrupt new sectors.

"Loon's mission is to connect people everywhere by inventing and integrating audacious technologies", said Alastair Westgarth, the chief executive of Loon.

The technology was used by U.S. telecom operators to provide connectivity to more than 250,000 people in Puerto Rico after a hurricane past year.

Telkom Kenya is the third biggest operator in the country behind market leader Safaricom and Bharti Airtel's Kenyan unit.

The Loon service uses balloons, which are powered by an on-board solar panel, to provide fourth generation (4G) coverage to areas with lower population densities.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The balloons float at 60,000 feet (20 km) above the sea level - high over air traffic, wildlife, and weather events.

"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.

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