Google Project Loon has secured all necessary regulatory approvals by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) and has started installing ground infrastructure in Kenya. With this development, Loon and Telkom Kenya expect to begin conducting initial tests with balloons in the country in the first half of 2019.
The regulatory approvals allow Loon to host Telkom spectrum on its stratospheric balloons; utilise millimeter wave spectrum to send connection from the ground to balloons overhead, and import and install ground infrastructure.
So far, Loon has partnered with Telkom, Nokia, East Africa Data Centre, and Liquid Telecom to install ground stations in Nairobi and Nakuru.
Loon’s CEO Alastair Westgarth said, “Together with Telkom Kenya, we have been working in close collaboration with the Kenya Communications Authority, Civil Aviation Authority, and others to secure the needed approvals to usher in Africa’s first-ever deployment of this innovative solution to connect unconnected and under-connected communities.”
The Communications Authority’s Director General, Mr. Francis Wangusi also said, “The Authority granted the requisite approvals to the two entities for deployment of Internet services using Loon’s Balloon powered technology on a trial basis. “
Loon uses base stations housed in high altitude balloons that operate 20 kilometres (65,000 feet) above sea level to provide mobile phone services. The base stations are powered by on-board solar panels.
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