WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
Only half the world’s population have internet connectivity, so companies are finding new ways to connect the remainder.
Today the fact that over half the world’s population don’t have access to the internet or quality broadband have prompted companies like Alphabet, Facebook, and SpaceX to launch everything from balloons and solar powered drones that fly in the stratosphere, to tens of thousands of low Earth orbit satellites, in order to connect the last 3.5 billion people on the planet. And now Alphabet, whose Project Loon balloons I’ve spoken about before, have just announced that they’ve signed a new commercial agreement with Internet Para Todos Perú in Peru to provide mobile internet connectivity to parts of the Amazon rainforest starting in 2020.
The agreement means that the Loon team now have the chance to use their high altitude internet balloons, combined with mobile internet from Telefónica, a part owner of Internet Para Todos Perú, to connect some of the most remote regions of Latin America and finally bring the wonders of the internet in all its finery to the areas inhabitants.
Alphabet’s blog says that the deployment will initially provide service to an area where nearly 200,000 people live and that the deployment will make Peru the first country in Latin America to use high altitude balloons to provide internet connectivity “on a sustained, non-emergency basis.”
Loon and Telefónica have also apparently worked together before, according to Loon’s blog. The two companies first partnered in 2014 with early tests of Loon’s technology, and then in 2017 they provided internet connectivity to parts of northern Peru following the El Niño floods, and this May, they contributed emergency connectivity following the 8.0 earthquake that hit the region.
This is Loon’s third commercial contract, following one for a commercial trial in partnership Telkom Kenya and one with Telesat, a Canadian satellite company, to use Loon’s networking software to manage low Earth orbit satellites.