Google parent company Alphabet’s Loon is essentially a subsidiary working on providing internet access to rural and remote areas. This is made possible with high-altitude balloons in the stratosphere (11 mi – 16 mi) to create an aerial wireless network with up to 1 Mbps speeds. They’re controlled by adjusting their altitude in the stratosphere, as they float to a wind layer using wind data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Several of these balloons were successfully launched in Kenya’s Rift Valley this past Wednesday.
How does the signal work? It travels through the network through the launched balloons to a ground-based station connected to an internet service provider (ISP) and lastly, the worldwide web. Each of these balloons use patch antennas to transmit the signals to ground stations, but some smartphones with Google SIM cards can use Google Internet services.
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Kenya is the first country… to have base stations high up in the sky. Now we will be able to cover the whole country in a very short span of time,” said Information Minister Joe Mucheru after the launch.