World News

Google's parent brings internet balloons to Kenya

​Ballooning internet
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​Ballooning internet
Alphabet Inc began offering the world's first commercial high-speed internet using balloons to villagers in remote regions of Kenya's Rift Valley.
​Up in the sky
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​Up in the sky
"Kenya is the first country... to have base stations high up in the sky. Now we will be able to cover the whole country in a very short span of time," said Information Minister Joe Mucheru after launching the service.
​Inching towards viability
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​Inching towards viability
The technology has been used before, but not commercially. U.S. telecom operators used balloons to connect more than 250,000 people in Puerto Rico after a 2017 hurricane.
​Floating away
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​Floating away
The floating base stations have a much wider coverage, about a hundred times the area of a traditional cell phone tower. The large, translucent balloons are fitted with a solar panel and battery, and float in the upper atmosphere, high above planes and weather.
​AI trumping humans
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​AI trumping humans
They also have software equipped with artificial intelligence to navigate flight paths without much human intervention.
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