More reports on: Telecom

Google's Project Loon balloon crashes in Kenya

02 January 2018

A high-altitude balloon, that Google launched to provide high-speed internet in the remote parts of the earth under "Project Loon", crashed in a Kenya farm, according to a media report, Saturday.

The balloon formed part of a 10-balloon batch, which was deployed for testing in Nakuru, Nanyuki, Nyeri, and Marsabit in July 2017. It went down at Nthambiro in Meru on Friday night, according to media reports.

Some residents complained of headaches after they gathered around the device to have a glimpse of the contraption.

"The device from project loon indicates it fell after its expiry period of six months. No one is yet to claim the device," Igembe South OCPD(Officer Commanding Police Department) Jane Nyakeruma was quoted as saying.

Google announced earlier this year that it was "years closer" to delivering internet to remote parts of the world using high-flying balloons.

According to researchers at Google's Project Loon, part of the company's X research lab, it was now able to use machine learning to predict weather systems.

What this means is, the firm has a greater control over where its balloons go, which makes it possible to focus on specific regions, rather than circumnavigating the globe, BBC reported.

The balloons float in the stratosphere around 11 miles high and different weather streams they encounter, may change their direction.

According to Google, The Loon balloons are super pressured, due to which they can float much longer. They are also unique in that they can sail the wind to travel where they need to go and they can coordinate with other balloons as a flock. Their electronics are entirely solar powered.

The balloons also function as floating cell phone towers, allowing local telecommunications companies to extend their coverage into areas that are unserved and thereby provide 4G internet.

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