SAN FRANCISCO United States (Xinhua) --
Google’s sister company Loon announced Thursday
that it is cooperating with a Kenya telecom firm to deploy a
high-altitude balloon system to provide Internet service next
year to remote rural and suburban areas in Kenya.
Loon CEO Alastair
Westgarth said it is a big step for the startup that had just
“graduated” from Alphabet’s Project Loon at its innovative
incubator of X lab last week, to embark on Loon’s first
commercial engagement in Africa.
Telkom Kenya, we’ll provide balloon-powered Internet to regions
of central Kenya, starting in 2019,” Westgarth said. Telkom
Kenya is the third biggest telecommunications provider founded
in 1999 in Kenya that operates post and telecom services to
He said Loon’s
balloons will be flying at 60,000 feet (about 18,288 meters) in
the air on the edge of space to deliver 4G/LTE cellular access
to remote areas in Kenya.
“Our path to success
as a company is through providing value to mobile network
partners like Telkom Kenya and helping them extend their reach
to places where ground-based infrastructure can’t go,” said the
from Alphabet’s X “moonshot factory” to become an independent
subsidiary firm of Google’s parent company on July 11, with
pledge to go ahead with its commitment to the business of using
high-altitude balloons to deliver WiFi Internet service to
“unconnected and under-connected people around the world.”
The company had
successfully used the technology to bring Internet connectivity
to people in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastated the
island last year.
Loon became the
fourth firm that emerged from Alphabet’s X lab project and
joined other subsidiaries to become Google’s sister company,
such as smart-thermostat maker Nest, health-data firm Verily and
self-driving car operator Waymo.