Balloons Drop Internet – A Google Initiative in Africa

The People -Offline

Everybody with an internet-connected device in hand is the order of the day in the modern world. Be it cosmopolitan or remote hilly tracks the internet connectivity is making its place everywhere. The world is now well connected with 4G, smartphones, and broadband. It is much hard to imagine people living without any access to the internet. Today’s world of internet of things, social media, is truly a global village. But believe me that some parts of the world still remain offline. The prominent example is of Africa where according to the United Nations’ studies about one-third of the population is without internet access.

Loon Initiative

There are however concerns to bring the offline areas to limelight internet connectivity. A Google sideline company Loon also owned by the Alphabet is working hard to reduce the number of deprived. In its latest initiative, the company has managed to arrange 35 solar-powered balloons across Kenya. Each of the high altitude balloons has a size of about a tennis court. The clear polyethylene made balloons are a sort of hanging cell towers, floating in the air. These are meant to “shower”4G signals, covering nearly 31,000 square miles of central & western Kenya.

Initial Coverage

The area of the project is almost equal to the area of the State of South Carolina. The balloons are supposed to float in the stratosphere for about 100 days before returning via software. The whole process is controlled from the ground. The Loon is working on this project with Telkom Kenya, which is the largest internet provider in the region. The internet usage rate in Kenya is estimated at 80% as 48 million people have internet access. Kenya has been chosen as a pilot site because of the large internet user base. The project will get expansion if the testing goes fine as per plans.

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