Over the next few weeks, Alphabet will roll out the Loon internet service in Kenya and has already partnered with Kenya’s largest telecom carrier, Telkom Kenya to test its cloud internet technology. The project started in 2011 to bring wireless service to region where it is difficult to install cellular towers on the ground.
The helium balloons used in the project are of a tennis court size. Alphabet has successfully demonstrated the viability of this project. Loon has let wireless carriers in Peru and Puerto Rico to use balloons for free to supplement their cell phone towers downed by natural disasters.
Kenya is a perfect target market for Alphabet to carry out this pilot run with Project Loon. The executives of five other wireless carries including Telkom Indonesia, Vodafone New Zealand, and French giant Orange SA have revealed that Loon is presently not up to the standard. These carriers expect Loon to demonstrate that the technology is stable, safe, and profitable.
A lot is at stake for Alphabet in case of its Project Loon. The project is among the most crucial subsidiaries for Alphabet. The subsidiary has also attracted outside funding from SoftBank Corp. The company has even faced political and cultural headwinds for testing Project Loon in some countries. Over the years, Loon has also attracted negative attention for the infamous balloon crashes. The first commercial test in Kenya will set the course for the future for Alphabet’s highly ambitious project.