Loon, the company began testing the first commercial service providing Internet access from a stratospheric balloon. They were launched from Puerto Rico a few weeks ago and now working in Kenya in the test mode, reported in the company blog.
Loon is part of Alphabet holding company, planning to provide with the help of hot-air balloons, Internet access and communications in remote regions or areas affected by natural disasters. For example, she successfully coped with this task after the hurricane Maria, which is left when the greater part of Puerto Rico. The devices operate as repeaters of the signal of LTE networks by transmitting a signal from the subscriber through other stratosphere to the base stations or Vice versa. For signal transmission between the stratosphere Loon mainly use the LTE antenna, but also experimenting with high speed laser communications.
In flight, the apparatus can directly control only the height, changing the volume of gas in the stratosphere. But due to the fact that the system control apparatus continuously monitors the parameters of air flow around them, hot-air balloons can set the direction of flight, moving between different streams. With the ability to control the direction of flight of the Loon does not expand the landing stations required in each country, and uses only two stations in Puerto Rico and the us state of Nevada.
On the first commercial project in Kenya Loon has been working for several years: the contract with the current provider Telcom was awarded in 2018 and March 2020, the authorities allowed to deploy a network of stratosphere and to provide communication services. In the first phase the stratosphere is covered by the signal of the Metropolitan region, in particular the city of Nairobi, Nakuru and Nyeri.