Alphabet Inc on Thursday announced Loon would deploy its system of balloons to relay high-speed internet access to remote parts of Kenya from next year.
In partnership with local operator Telkom Kenya, this will mark Loon’s first commercial deal in Africa, Reuters report.
Know as Project Loon, the technology was developed by Alphabet’s research-and-development facility X; now Alphabet subsidiary company Loon.
Project Loon uses solar-powered balloons to provide 4G internet connectivity to rural communities.
They float at 60,000 feet (20km) above sea level, well above air traffic, wildlife and weather events, Loon said.
“Loon’s mission is to connect people everywhere by inventing and integrating audacious technologies,” said Alastair Westgarth, the chief executive of Loon.
The balloons will be deployed in central Kenya which Telkom says has been a challenge to service because of mountainous and inaccessible terrain.
“We will work very hard with Loon, to deliver the first commercial mobile service, as quickly as possible, using Loon’s balloon-powered Internet in Africa,” said Aldo Mareuse, the chief executive of Telkom.
Last year, when the company was still part of the X lab, it successfully provided basic internet access to more than 250,000 people in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.