Tue, 20 Nov 2018

Google’s internet balloon under Project Loon crashes

By Sheetal Sukhija, Kenya News
02 Jan 2018, 02:06 GMT+10

NAIROBI, Kenya - A high-altitude internet balloon installed by Google in a bid to provide high-speed internet in remote parts of the world is said to have crashed in Kenya.

The balloon was launched by the search engine giant under Project Loon and was part of a ten-balloon batch used for testing. 

It had been deployed for testing in Nakuru, Nanyuki, Nyeri, and Marsabit in July 2017 and is said to have crashed at Nthambiro in Meru.

According to local media reports, some residents complained of headaches after they gathered around the device to get a glimpse of it inside the farm where it crashed.

Igembe South OCPD Jane Nyakeruma was quoted as saying, “The device from project loon indicates it fell after its expiry period of six months. No one is yet to claim the device.”

Earlier this year, Google announced that it was "years closer" to delivering Internet to remote parts of the world using its high-flying balloons.

Researchers at Google's Project Loon, which is part of the company's X research lab said it was now able to use machine learning to predict weather systems, meaning the firm has a greater control over where its balloons go, making it possible to focus on a specific region, rather than circumnavigating the globe.

Under the project, reports noted that the firm suspended a network of huge balloons that beam down connectivity.

According to the company, the balloons float in the stratosphere around 11 miles high. 

By raising or lowering altitude, the balloons can be caught in different weather streams.

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