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Loon partners with Telkom Kenya for commercial LTE

Loon partners with Telkom Kenya for commercial LTE

The project will provide internet signals across a massive area, using solar panels on board to generate power.

The project's balloons had previously been used for non-commercial deployments to deliver coverage in the wake of natural disasters; most past year, following flooding in Peru and a hurricane in Puerto Rico.

However, some critics have suggested the partnership will lead to a monopoly in Kenya, dominating the internet market and warning those most affected will be the consumers.

Google parent Alphabet is to launch internet balloons in Kenya, to provide coverage in rural and remote areas. It will cover rural and suburban populations.

Mr Banks said Loon could be transformational for these areas, but he also warned that many people were concerned about building a reliance on commercial, foreign technology for something as critical as connectivity.

"We will work very hard with Loon, to deliver the first commercial mobile service, as quickly as possible, using Loon's balloon-powered Internet in Africa", said Aldo Mareuse, Telkom's CEO.

INTERNET EVERYWHERE. The internet is such an important part of modern life that, back in 2016, the United Nations declared access to it a human right. Kenya hopes the technology can help achieve full Internet coverage of its population.

The connection will be delivered by high altitude balloons that float 20km above sea level.

Earlier this year, Analysys Mason - a UK-based consultant retained by the Communication Authority of Kenya - had recommended tower sharing between mobile telco operators which will allow customers in some areas in Kenya access mobile services. "This is a first for all of us, and over the coming months we will collaborate on the technical, operational, and other work needed to expand Telkom's network to more people in Kenya", he wrote in a Wednesday blog post.

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