Internet balloons bring connectivity to Kenya

Google’s internet balloons are providing internet connectivity to Kenya, covering 50,000 square kilometres across the country with access to communication tools and streaming.

The initiative, developed by Project Loon (A subsidiary of Alphabet) launches balloons by 90-foot tall automated machines, sending balloons into near-space height at 60,000 feet every 30 minutes. 

The balloons are directed by machine-learning algorithms and have developed their own navigational maneuvers to provide sustained internet service across a coverage footprint of 11,000 square kilometres each, 200 times more coverage than a typical signal tower. 



The rollout is available for Telkom Kenya subscribers in the Iten, Eldoret, Baringo, Nakuru, Kakamega, Kisumu, Kisii, Bomet, Kericho, and Narok areas and marks the first rollout of Loon in a non-emergency setting and the first application of balloon-powered internet in Africa. 

At least 35 balloons will be used for the rollout, in constant motion in the stratosphere, with the company planning to add more balloons to its target fleet size in the coming weeks to improve service availability. 

Current service quality testing has shown an upload speed of 4.74 Mbps, a download speed of 18.9Mbps with a latency of 19 ms, with the Loon and Telkom teams using the service for voice calls, video calls, YouTube, WhatsApp, email, texting and web browsing. 
 

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