How Google’s balloons are bringing internet to new parts of Kenya

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There are nearly 4 billion people on earth who have no access to the internet and there are a multitude of reasons why this is the case, including any combination of the cost of infrastructure, remote dwellers, difficult terrains, the sheer limits of technology and many more.

Hundreds of millions of those people without access to an internet connection (and in some cases also lacking electricity) are found across Africa. It’s why two of Silicon Valley’s biggest tech firms, Google and Facebook have taken on a major infrastructure project to get more undersea internet cables to Africa. In the recent past Facebook has worked with local mobile phone companies to underwrite the costs of free internet access for African consumers. But it was criticized for being limited to mostly Facebook’s version of the internet.

Alphabet, which owns Google, is trying something far more eye-catching in East Africa through an idea that started in 2013 out of Google X, its so called “Moonshot Factory.” The idea was to send out balloons into space to connect people in difficult to reach areas of the world. After several trials it came to fruition this month in Kenya, now under the name Loon.

Source: Quartz Africa