Bringing high speed internet to Kenya via LTE Balloons

Alphabet (Google’s parent company) recently announced that the Loon’s internet balloons are about to launch in Kenya in 2019. A few days after the former X-lab experimentation finally became a fully established company, Alphabet made it public that Loon’s first commercial deal is taking place in Africa. This announcement was received with high anticipation as it’s believed to hold great potentials for the information and telecommunications industry in the country.

Horizon Communications, building telecommunications solutions in the Caribbean, is building wireless networks using very similar technology.

One of the LTE balloons to be used by Loon

According to a report published by Reuters, the new subsidiary is set to deploy internet relaying balloons to Kenya starting from next year. This deployment will be in partnership with a local telecommunications provider, Telkom Kenya. The partnership between Alphabet and Telkom Kenya is expected to bring high speed internet access to rural areas of the country, especially for those living in remote locations that ISPs cannot service.

Alphabet’s Loon technology works by obtaining wireless internet signals from a telecommunications partner already on ground in the location. The balloon that obtains the internet signal will relay the same across the wide network of balloons within the region. The network of balloons within the region then takes the signal and beams it down to the internet users on the ground.

This network of balloons is powered by solar energy and flies at an altitude of about 60,000 feet above the sea level. The balloons have the potentials to deliver an internet connection with the speeds of LTE.

Kenya’s authority are very hopeful that this technology will help the country attain complete internet coverage that the people of the country can rely on, even for those who reside in the rural areas of the country, and this development in the connectivity of the nation will greatly impact on the business community in the country as well as the lifestyles of the residents.

It is left to be seen whether this new initiative will indeed connect the whole of Kenya. However, it is important to draw attention to the previous experiments that have been carried out by the company which have proved that the technology indeed works.

Back in the days when the organization was still a part of the X-lab team, it was reported that it effectively provided more than 100,000 people in the island of Puerto Rico with basic internet connection after the region suffered a major Hurricane Maria. Of course, the internet connectivity deployed at Puerto Rico at the time was not perfect but this is understandable, especially because the island had just experienced a massive damage.

The project at the island was believed to be a huge success for what was first thought to be a crazy X lab experiment using LTE technology that had yet to be proved to be a legitimate solution for large scale LTE solutions.

Gilbert A Darrell is the Founder of Horizon. He has 18 years experience in information technology and telecom solutions, a veteran in Fire and EMS Services, a crypto enthusiast and a member of the Bermuda Government’s Cryptocurrency Task Force.

Horizon Communications is an upcoming fixed wireless internet and cellular service provider looking to provide services in Bermuda, the Caribbean, and Central America before expanding internationally. While utilizing 4th generation and soon 5th generation wireless technology,it will also heavily incorporate blockchain and cryptocurrency technology.

More information can be found on their website —