President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced in a press statement on Monday that the government is partnering with Google Loon to ensure widespread availability of 4G internet connections.
This move is aimed to ensure that people are able to work from their homes and that students can learn through online portals effectively. President Kenyatta said that Google Loon did not charge them any fee for this partnership.
What is Google Loon?
Google Loon is a company under Alphabet Inc which partners with mobile network operators globally to expand the reach of LTE (4G) connections. This is achieved by taking the most essential components of a cell tower and redesigned them to be light and durable. The components are then carried by a balloon 20km above the earth’s surface, which is well above aeroplanes, wildlife and weather events.
How does it work?
Loon transmits an operator’s signal from connection points on the ground, beams it across multiple balloons in the stratosphere, and then sends that signal back to a user’s 4G-enabled device. These balloons are designed to withstand harsh atmospheric conditions and have travelled more than 30 million kilometres since its launch in 2013.
How Kenya will benefit
Loon has worked with Telkom to ensure that the whole country receives fast and stable internet connection.
This will be achieved by allowing balloons to be dispatched from Loon’s sites in the United States and will arrive in the country in the next two weeks through automated navigation systems. Upon arrival, the two companies will conduct the final stages of network integration testing which is required before launching it to the public.
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