Telkom recently announced, that its partnership with Loon, the Alphabet company working to bring balloon-powered Internet to Kenya. The initiative has now received all regulatory and Cabinet approvals to begin flying balloons in Kenya.
The balloons will be dispatched from Loon’s sites in the United States, and will arrive in the country in the next few weeks. Already, four balloons have arrived in Kenyan airspace and are being used to expedite network integration testing.
The Loon service, will seek to use its 4G LTE Internet solution to connect unserved and under-served communities in Kenya. Initial coverage areas have already been identified, starting with Nairobi, Nyeri, Nakuru, Kitui, Nanyuki, Narok and into Kisii.
Loon’s solution works by beaming Internet connectivity from ground stations to a balloon 20 kilometres overhead. From there, a signal can be sent across multiple balloons, creating a network of floating cell towers that deliver connectivity directly to a user’s LTE-enabled device below.
In 2018, Loon announced advances in its ability to share connectivity among multiple balloons. Combined with the large coverage area of each balloon – roughly 30 times greater than a ground-based system – Loon makes it possible to provide service to traditionally hard-to-reach areas.