Operators to use balloons for Internet coverage in Kenya

Kenya’s ICT minister Joe Mucheru said the African nation will use Alphabet’s balloons to beam high-speed Internet as part of the strategy to connect its rural population to the web, Reuters reported.
Safaricom buys Essar Telecom KenyaAlphabet’s X, the company’s innovation lab, developed the Project Loon, the technology for connecting to the Internet especially in rural areas. Several US telecom operators used the Internet technology to provide connectivity to more than 250,000 people in Puerto Rico after a hurricane last year.

Joe Mucheru, the information, communication and technology minister, said that project representatives were holding talks with local telecom operators on the deployment of the broadband technology.

“The Loon team are working out contracts and hopefully once that is done, we can be able to see almost every part of the country covered,” he said.

With more than 45 million people, Kenya’s major cities and towns are covered by operator networks, but vast swathes of rural Kenya are not covered.

A Microsoft backed Kenyan start-up has been using under-utilized television frequencies to connect some of those rural communities.

“Loon is another technology that is being introduced that the licensed operators hopefully can be able to use,” Mucheru said, adding it would help the government meet its goal of reaching everyone.