Remote areas of rural Kenya will soon be among the beneficiaries of internet access through a network of giant balloons.
This set of good news has been announced by Google’s sister-company Loon setting its first commercial deal: partnering with Telkom Kenya to deliver connectivity to the region.
Much of Kenya’s population of around 49 million people is catered for by mobile coverage, but enormous sections of the country are disconnected from internet providers.
Based on that mere fact, the two companies have had candid discussions and deliberation to see an effective and sufficient internet access solutions to the population residing in the rural areas.
As part of its first commercial agreement, Loon has pledged to bring internet access to some of Kenya’s most inaccessible regions although the specific terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
Exhibiting confidence and commitment to the task ahead, Chief Executive of Telkom Aldo Mareuse, said they will push as hard in order to have Loon’s balloon powered internet up and running in Kenya.
HOW IT WORKS
Loon’s balloons float high in the stratosphere, around 20km (12.4 miles) above sea level; a height the company says is out of range of air traffic, storms and wildlife.
The tennis-court-sized balloon is made from polyethylene, filled with helium and powered by a solar panel. The balloons are designed to stay aloft for months at a time, and move by surfing wind channels, predicting speeds and directions so that they can navigate in the direction they need to travel.
Each balloon carries an antenna, which relays internet signals transmitted from the ground, extending coverage over an area of 5,000sq km.
In the case of this new partnership, Telkom Kenya will be providing the internet signals, and Loon will spread it over remote areas of Kenya.
However, this technological advancement has garnered different reactions among players in the communication industry and other internet users with some applauding saying the connectivity will bring opportunities to the regions while others fear monopolization in the sector.