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Project Loon started as one of Alphabet’s moonshot projects, and now its providing internet service in Kenya.
The company makes solar powered balloons that fly high up in the stratosphere and send internet access down to earth. These mobile, floating stations are more flexible than typical cell stations, as they’re constantly moving. They also have much wider coverage areas; as much as a hundred times that of a cell tower.
Right now, Loon stations are mostly used after disasters take out existing infrastructure, or in places where cell towers and connections are otherwise difficult, but Loon has much bigger plans. CEO Alastair Westgarth said ” Loon is well positioned to play this role and serve as the operating system for the global connectivity ecosystem of the future.” He hopes to create a global third layer of connectivity, on top of cell towers on earth and satellites in space.