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Uganda wants Alphabet’s Loon to provide balloon-borne internet service



project loon balloons
Loon balloons getting blown up.
Google Project Loon

  • Loon, an Alphabet company that started as a Google
    project, is in preliminary talks with Uganda about
    providing 4G LTE internet service to the country’s rural
  • The talks come a month after Loon reached an agreement
    to provide service to remote areas in Kenya. 
  • The talks indicate that there might be a market in
    Africa for Loon’s brand of balloon-borne WiFi service.

Loon, the Alphabet subsidiary that started as a Google project,
is in preliminary talks with Uganda that could bring
balloon-borne wifi service to some of the African nation’s rural
areas, the company confirmed on Thursday. 

Loon, born out of what was the Google X skunkworks lab, uses
balloons to carry cell-tower equipment into the stratosphere and
beam 4G LTE-based internet service across broad swaths of land.
The company was created to bring Internet service to people
living in remote locations who otherwise couldn’t get it.

On Tuesday,
news media in Uganda
reported that a deal had already been
struck and the Loon’s balloons would soon be floating over the
the nation. Scott Coriell, a Loon spokesman, however,
indicated that an agreement did not yet exist between the company
and Uganda. 

“A team from Loon was in Uganda earlier this week meeting
with officials to discuss how Loon works and our commitment to
safety,” Coriell said in a statement. “We are always in
discussions with governments and mobile network operators about
the benefits of Loon, but we have no additional announcements to
make at this time.”

google io project loonScreenshot

The news comes a month after an
agreement between Loon and Kenya
was announced. The talks
with Uganda is another sign that there might be a market in
Africa for Loon, which only recently became a
standalone division
within Alphabet.  

Judging from some of the statements made at a ceremony this week
attended by representatives from numerous Ugandan government
organizations as well as US officials, the country believes it is
important to follow Kenya’s lead. 

According to news outlet
, U.S. Ambassador to Uganda Deborah Malac
told those gathered that “Bringing internet to rural areas in
Uganda remains a big challenge. The presence of Project Loon here
today is an important step towards connecting remote

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