FASTER CONNECTIVITY

Uhuru launches internet balloons, urges Kenyans to utilise 4G network

Internet balloons will see mobile phone users in 14 counties access 4G network.

In Summary

• Telkom Kenya entered partnership with Google parent firm Alphabet in the first ever commercial deployment of loon internet balloons in the world.

• ICT CS Joe Mucheru termed the launch as historic, adding that Kenya continues to lead the world in matters technology.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has virtually launched the Loon internet balloons that will see mobile phone users in 14 counties access 4G network. This is after Telkom Kenya entered partnership with Google parent firm Alphabet.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has virtually launched the Loon internet balloons that will see mobile phone users in 14 counties access 4G network.

This is after Telkom Kenya entered partnership with Google parent firm Alphabet at an undisclosed amount in the first ever commercial deployment of loon internet balloons in the world.

Speaking during the launch at Radat Centre in Baringo County, Uhuru who addressed locals via live WhatsApp video chat asked them to take advantage of the improved telecommunication infrastructure to advance their social economic activities.

 

"You now have a faster internet network. You can now sell your honey to the rest of the world. Take full advantage of it," Uhuru said.

ICT CS Joe Mucheru termed the launch as historic, adding that Kenya continues to lead the world in matters technology.

Last year, Alphabet Inc’s Loon said it would deploy its system of balloons to beam high-speed Internet access with Telkom Kenya to cover rural and suburban populations, marking its first commercial deal in Africa.

Known as Project Loon, the technology was developed by Alphabet’s X, the company’s innovation lab. It has since become Loon, a subsidiary of Alphabet, which is the parent company of Google.

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

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.

They float at 60,000 feet above the sea level, well above air traffic, wildlife, and weather events, Loon said.

 

With more than 45 million people, Kenya’s major cities and towns are covered by operator networks, but vast swathes of rural Kenya are not covered.


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