4G network coverage boosted as Google Loon’s air balloon set to fly over Kenyan airspace

A smartphone
A person using a smartphone. [Photo Business Daily]

4G data coverage in rural areas will be enhanced following the signing of an agreement between Google Loon and the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA).

On Monday, President Uhuru Kenyatta said that Google Loon in partnership with Telkom Kenya will now fly their air balloon over Kenya airspace beaming high-speed internet in a move aimed at enabling thousands of Kenyans to work from home as coronavirus outbreak continues troubling the country.

The Google Loon air balloons will provide wider signal coverage as they carry the 4G base station.

“This intervention will enable Kenya to retain her competitive advantages in ICT and innovation in the midst of the current crisis; while at the same time laying the foundations for greater expansion once the current health challenge is contained,” he said.

Google Loon is a project that helps people in areas without internet access it through their air balloons.

Uhuru added that “This development will also enable Telkom Kenya Ltd and Google Loon to start the commercial rollout of a 4G data network in the country as soon as the balloons are available on the Kenyan airspace. The two companies have been testing this service for the last two years.”

The president reckoned that the partnership between the two entities will help the government in surveillance and management of COVID-19.

President Kenyatta also lauded Google Loon and Telkom Kenya for offering their 4G service towards supporting the government’s surveillance and management of Covid-19 infections besides helping students continue with learning.

Google Loon offered the service to Kenya for free. The balloon is solar-powered and Nyeri has been identified as one of the ground stations.