Loon has dispatched a larger fleet of balloons to Kenya after successful launches from Loon’s launch site in Puerto Rico, this week.
These balloons will join the eight balloons that are already active. And part of a network integration exercise in Kenyan airspace. Last month, the government approved the service to enable universal 4G data coverage in the country.
Especially now that almost a part of the county is working from home following the disruptions caused by the global Coronavirus pandemic. The Loon service will seek to use its 4G/LTE Internet solution to connect unserved and under-served communities in Kenya. Initial coverage areas include Nairobi, Machakos, Nyeri, Nakuru, Kitui, Nanyuki, Narok, and Kisii.
This larger fleet of balloons will continue with network integration testing with its local partner, Telkom Kenya, in preparation to begin serving users as quickly as possible. The balloons will gradually begin arriving above Kenya, in the coming few weeks.
Telkom Kenya’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mugo KIBATI, states “These balloons will be used to expedite integration testing of this pioneer LTE service. We will glean off insights from those tests to fast track integration of all other balloons. That have been dispatched from Loon Inc.’s launch sites and is to arrive in Kenya over the coming few weeks. Once the balloons are in place, this new technology will complement Telkom’s ongoing strategy to further widen its network coverage, confirming the telco as Kenya’s preferred data network.”
Loon’s CEO Alastair WESTGARTH states “We’re extremely excited to be sending additional balloons to Kenya for further testing with Telkom. We look forward to beginning to provide service in the near future. We’re very grateful for the support of the government and all Kenyans as we work to bring balloon-powered Internet to Kenya as quickly as possible.”
Landing zones for the Kenya deployment
The balloons will be navigated to Australia for landing purposes. Australia hosts a number of recovery zones established with Loon landing and recovering many balloons there.
Telkom and Loon will work with local partners to recover landed balloons. Their knowledge of the local landscape and communities will be invaluable to Loon’s landing and recovery operations in Kenya. Loon takes the responsibility to be good stewards of the land seriously. Operating safely and respectfully in the pursuit of expanding Internet access to those who need it.