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Alphabet’s Loon internet balloons will fly to Kenya by 2019

Alphabet’s Loon internet balloons will fly to Kenya by 2019
[Photo: courtesy of Loon]

After earning its wings from Alphabet, Loon is setting sail for Kenya.

The company’s high-flying balloons that beam internet service down to underserved areas is heading to the African nation by 2019, according to Reuters. The new Google sibling will deploy its internet-relaying balloons in partnership with local provider Telkom Kenya.

Kenya is a good choice for Loon’s service as it has prioritized getting the country online and part of a “knowledge-based economy by the year 2030.” In 2013, Kenya launched its National Broadband Strategy to extend fiber optic cables across the country, and according to a 2017 report from the content delivery network, its internet speeds are already faster than those in the U.S. Kenya’s authorities are reportedly hoping that the technology can help the country achieve full internet coverage, even for citizens who live far from cities.

It’s the first step in what Google X’s Astro Teller wrote in a Medium post was Loon’s mission to “work with mobile network operators globally to bring internet access to unconnected and underconnected people around the world.”

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