A network of giant internet-enabled balloons from Google’s sister firm Loon is to provide internet access to remote areas of Kenya.
It will provide 4G coverage so people can make voice and video calls, browse the web, email, text and stream videos.
The project was announced two years ago but final sign-off from the Kenyan government has only just been given.
It is now being fast-tracked to help improve communications during the coronavirus pandemic.
The balloons’ 4G internet service has been tested with 35,000 customers and will initially cover a region spanning 50,000 sq km (31,000 sq miles).
Eventually 35 solar-powered balloons will be in constant motion in the stratosphere above eastern Africa. They are launched in the US and make their way to Kenya using wind currents.
One field test of the service showed download speeds of 18.9Mbps (megabits per second) and upload speeds of 4.7Mbps.
Loon began as