High-speed internet is available in Kenya thanks to balloons

Alpoon’s (Google) subsidiary, Loon, put 35 stratospheric balloons into service to deliver Internet to the most isolated areas of Kenya.

After Brazil, New Zealand, or the restoration of the communication network of Puerto Rico devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017, the Loon Alphabet Project ( Google ) is now operational in Kenya. The balloons stratospheric Office now deliver a connection Internet in 4G on an area of approximately 50,000 km. To cover Kenya, 35 balloons are moving in the sky at an altitude of around 20 km in the stratosphere .

The swarm of balloons is synchronized by an artificial intelligence . It delivers a downstream speed of 18.9 Mbps and up to 4.74 Mbps with a latency of 19 ms. Ample figures for surfing the web, using communications apps, and even videos. Before it was fully operational commercially, Loon tested its system with 35,000 users who did not necessarily realize that they were using the service. According to Google, the network is timely during this period of health crisis, since it allows isolated individuals to stay in touch with their families and the authorities.

35 autonomous balloons piloted by an AI

The 35 balloons are completely autonomous in terms of energy  because they are powered by photovoltaic cells . In addition to operating the transmitters, this energy is also used to move the balloons so that they clog the white areas of the territory as much as possible. At the commercial level, the service was set up with the local operator Telkom Kenya.

If the Loon Project is no longer really a project but a reality, Alphabet is not the only player to cover the white areas. This is also the case for SpaceX with its constellation of Starlink mini- satellites which is currently being deployed.