Kenya has signed an agreement with Google Loon which will provide internet access to Kenyans as they work from home during the coronavirus pandemic.
This was announced today by President Uhuru Kenyatta during a presser as the government continues to update the citizens of the measures they are doing to contain the pandemic. Below is the presser in verbatim.
“To foster communication and to enable Kenyans to retain and enhance remote access to their offices and enterprises, my administration has granted approval that will ensure universal 4G data coverage is available throughout our country,
I am pleased to announce that the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority has signed an agreement with Google Loon in order to allow Loon balloons over Kenyan airspace. These balloons which will hover above our commercial airspace will carry 4G base stations and have the capacity to provide wider signal coverage.
This intervention will enable Kenya to retain her competitive advantage in ICT and innovation in the midst of the current crisis while at the same time laying foundations for greater expansion once the current health challenge is contained. The development will also enable Telkom Kenya and Google Loon to start the commercial rollout of 4G data network in our country. These two companies have been testing this service for the last two years.
Once inaugurated, this service will extend Telkom Kenya’s 4G network to areas that are not covered by any of our mobile network providers. Therefore, all Kenyans, wherever they are in the country, will enjoy access to high speed and affordable internet services. I know the gesture by Google Loon and Telkom to offer their 4G to support our efforts in surveillance and management of coronavirus infections and this will go a long way to containing the present health challenge.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced working professionals and students alike to stay at home and has resorted to a forced digital transformation for industries and homes alike. The move by the government is to make sure that Kenyans are connected to the Internet as they try to continue with their day to day lives.
The Google Loon project has been going on for a while. Communications Authority approved this project almost two years ago and we also saw Loon opening a ground station in Nyeri a year ago as they neared a commercial launch. In the region, Google Loon signed an overflight agreement with Uganda’s government in December last year so that it works towards the provision of service in Kenya and beyond.