Kenya’s 4G internet balloon project scrapped


A pilot project in Kenya meant to provide internet access to remote areas will be discontinued from March.

This is after Google’s parent-company Alphabet scrapped a firm, Loon, that was to build giant balloons to beam the internet.

The internet-enabled balloons were to provide 4G internet service so people could make voice and video calls, browse the web, email, text and stream videos.

But the project failed to make costs low enough to make it sustainable, Alphabet’s chief executive said in a blog post on Thursday.

Loon had signed a major deal in 2018 with a Kenyan telecommunications company, Telkom, to bring 4G to remote parts of the country.

The idea had been to eventually have 35 solar-powered balloons – which were the size of tennis courts and self-navigating – in constant motion in the stratosphere above eastern Africa.

Telkom has said the pilot technology will end on 1 March following the announcement that Loon is being wound down.

“Over the coming months, the Loon team will work closely with Telkom to ensure the operations of the technology’s pilot service are wrapped up safely and smoothly