Alphabet is in talks with Kenyan telecom operators according to Joe Mucheru, Kenya’s information, communication, and technology minister. Alphabet is still hammering out the details of the contracts with the telecoms but once that’s done, Mucheru hopes that every part of the country will be covered.
While it’s fairly unusual for a company to discuss on-going projects, Alphabet did confirm that it was holding talks but declined to go into specifics. If Loon does come to Kenya, it won’t be the first time the technology has been tried in public. While Loon has been tried in several places around the world, the most high profile case was when it was deployed in Puerto Rico last year after a hurricane struck the island.
Speaking about the deal, Joe Mucheru said:
“The Loon team are still working out contracts and hopefully once that is done, we can be able to see almost every part of the country covered. Loon is another technology that is being introduced that the licensed operators hopefully can be able to use. Connectivity is critical. If you are not online, you are left out.”
A spokesperson for Project Loon confirmed the talks and also claimed that “We are always in discussions with governments and telcos around the world.”
For those unfamiliar with the situation in Kenya, the country has a population approaching 50 million and while its cities and towns are covered by operator networks, much of the rural areas are not.
Let us know in the comments whether or not you think Loon will win out over the competition to deliver internet connectivity to rural areas around the world or whether we’ll see different companies providing access for different areas of the world.