Google Internet Balloon project ends in Uganda
Uganda along with 9 other African countries will lose out as Google winds up its Internet Balloon Project which Google stated was “an unsustainable business model”. In 2019, Loon LLC, signed a Letter of Agreement in Kampala with officials from Uganda Civil Aviation Authority, for high altitude solar powered Internet balloons to be established at an altitude of 500,000 feet creating an aerial wireless network providing Internet and telecom network connectivity to rural and remote areas. Loon has been pursuing the last billion users who exist in communities within areas that are difficult to reach. The Loon project was expected to change Uganda’s telecom sector through enhancing connectivity in remote areas, and contributing to the development of the national backbone infrastructure project. Due to Covid-19, the Ugandan demand for Internet has grown exponentially with nearly 50 percent of the population being connected. While Loon has found willing partners, a way has not been found to keep the costs manageable for a long-term sustainable business. Loon’s arrangements in Botswana, Nigeria, South Africa, Mauritius, Seychelles, DR Congo, Congo Brazzaville, Mozambique and Kenya, are also expected to close.