Google’s “Loon” Internet Flies Into The Amazon After Connecting Kenya
By CultureBanx Team
- Google’s Loon signed an agreement with Internet Para Todos Perú, to bring Peruvians online
- Loon started connecting Kenyans to the internet in 2018
Google’s (GOOG -0.46%) internet air-balloon service Loon, is moving beyond Africa and into the Amazon rainforest. The company announced it’s bringing internet to areas of Peru where around 200,000 people live, thanks to its agreement with Internet Para Todos Perú (IpT) an open-access infrastructure operator. Connecting remote parts of Africa and the Amazon could mean big business for the search giant.
Why This Matters: Every new person they are able to connect to the internet has the possibility to turn into a paying customer. Currently, a quarter of people in the Amazon Rainforest lack 3G internet access, and IpT wants to connect 6 million rural Peruvians by 2021, which is why this deal makes sense. However, this isn’t Loon’s first trip to the region, while still under Alphabet’s X department, the research lab of the company once called “Project Loon” was deployed twice after natural disasters to affected areas. The first live field test came in May 2017, after devastating floods in Lima, Peru. Loon was able to provide post disaster cell service to an estimated 25,000 square miles, according to the BBC. The balloons were subsequently also deployed in November 2017, after Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico and helped return service to nearly 250,000 residents.
A quarter of people in the Amazon Rainforest lack 3G internet access, and IpT wants to connect 6 million rural Peruvians by 2021, which is why this deal makes sense
Over in Africa, Loon’s first task was to use the internet-connectable high-altitude balloons to provide coverage to rural Kenya. With a population of over 45 million people, Kenya is the seventh-largest country in Africa and its eighth-largest economy. Though its metropolitan centers are well connected, there are still plenty of rural and suburban areas that remain without internet connectivity.
The Alphabet subsidiary teamed up with Kenya’s Telkom company to bridge an internet-connectivity gap in rural and suburban Kenya. Its balloons launched from the central mountains in Kenya this summer, with the goal of providing commercial mobile internet at some point this year. As for now, the two companies are awaiting final regulatory approval before it can begin service.
What’s Next: Loon plans to deploy its balloons in Peru to provide 4G/LTE service beginning in 2020. In order for them to take flight in the Amazon, the company must first secure regulatory approval from Peru's Ministry of Transport and Communications.
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