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Loon became the fourth firm that emerged from Alphabet's X lab project and joined other subsidiaries to become Google's sister company, such as smart-thermostat maker Nest, health-data firm Verily and self-driving vehicle operator Waymo.

The country's major cities and towns are covered by operator networks, but large parts of rural Kenya are not. The balloons act as floating cell towers, powered by solar panels and transmitting Telkom's service to people below.

Alphabet's Loon has partnered with Telkom Kenya for its first commercial agreement in Africa. And it's planning to bring its balloon-powered internet to Kenya.

The Loon service will aim to provide extended 4G/LTE coverage to rural and suburban areas with lower population densities using high altitude balloons that operate 20km about sea level, placing them out of range of air traffic, wildlife and weather events. To navigate, they ride wind currents and get power from the sun.

Alphabet's Project Loon was a big success in Puerto Rico after they were hit by a hurricane previous year and the folks in Kenya took note of this success.

"That only leaves the kinds of technology that Loon and other fully wireless solutions provide".

Alphabet, the parent company of renowned search engine Google is to improve internet connectivity in remote areas in Kenya in a different way.

"We're excited to take a big step forward for our business and mission", Loon CEO Alastair Westgarth, said in a Medium post.

The deal with Telkom Kenya could see full internet coverage achieved and is due to commence next year.

Nanjira Sambuli, advocacy manager for the World Wide Web Foundation, noted that the UN Broadband Commission's target for internet affordability says 1GB of mobile data should cost no more than 2% of gross national income per capita.


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