Loon, Google’s sister company, has finally been granted regulatory approvals in Kenya to provide internet services from balloons that will drift 20km above the earth, says CEO Alastair Westgarth. The company signed an agreement with Telkom Kenya last year to provide 4G connectivity to its subscribers. Telkom Kenya competes with Vodacom’s associate in the region, Safaricom. Westgarth said the process to install and connect the necessary terrestrial infrastructure — which was being done with partners Telkom Kenya, Nokia and Liquid Telecom — is nearly complete and that the balloons would arrive in the east African country in the coming months. Kenya will be Loon’s first commercial launch, though last year the company provided services over Peru and Puerto Rico after natural disasters in those countries wiped out cell towers. The company’s balloons are the size of tennis courts, powered by solar energy, and steered by wind, moving up or down to catch different currents. Each balloon wil...

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