X, a research and development company mothered by Google and prides itself of pioneering internet balloons famously known as Project Loon is seeking partnership with Kenyan telcos to roll-out the project in the country. Google, through X, launched Project Loon to increase internet connectivity among the millions of people living in rural areas without ground stations and fibre connections through a network of balloons.
The project, which has been under testing in parts pf the country, such as Nakuru, Nanyuki, Nyeri and Marsabit, since August last year was applauded by Kenya’s Ministry of ICT through the Principal Secretary, Sammy Itemere, who acknowledged that such innovations benefit Kenya. “We welcome the use of high-altitude balloons to create an aerial wireless network that offers real benefits to consumers,” he added.
So far, only Telkom Kenya has said anything in regards to a possible partnership with Project Loon. Business Daily reports that Telkom is still in discussion with Project Loon team to conclude on potential partnerships and synergies but are yet to deploy any service.
The Project Loon balloons are essentially wireless internet connectivity devices that communicate with existing cell towers and beam internet signal across a wider area that otherwise would not be covered by the cell tower, thus reducing the cost of setting up additional cell towers to cover these areas.
Unfortunately, there’s still uncertainty over the safety of the balloons after it was reported that one such balloon crashed in a farm in Meru a while ago. Such crashes have also been witnessed in nearly 10 countries, including Panama and the USA.