Kenya on Monday granted approval of Google Loon Services in Kenya to roll out universal 4G data coverage throughout the country.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, who announced the approval, said the balloons will be dispatched from Loon’s sites in the U.S., and it is hoped that they will arrive in the country in the next few weeks to ensure Kenyans access internet as they work from home during COVID-19 period.
“In that regard, and to foster communication and enable Kenyans to retain and enhance remote access to the offices and enterprises, my administration has granted approvals that will ensure universal 4G data coverage throughout Kenya,” Kenyatta told journalists in Nairobi.
He said the approval was in line with the government’s measures to respond to the disruptions caused by the global corona-virus pandemic that has seen many people work from home to avoid contracting the illness.
He announced that the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) has signed an agreement with Google Loon that allows Loon Balloons to fly over Kenyan airspace.
These balloons, which will hover well above Kenya’s commercial airspace, carry 4G base stations and have the capacity to provide wider signal coverage.
The Loon service will seek to use its 4G LTE Internet solution to connect unserved and under-served communities in Kenya.
The president said Telkom Kenya and Google have been testing the 4G data network and will roll out the commercial service as soon as the balloons are available in the Kenyan airspace.
“Once inaugurated, this service will extend Telkom Kenya’s 4G network to areas that currently are not covered by any of our mobile network providers,” Kenyatta said.
The service will also boost online learning as it will allow teachers and students to access education materials remotely.