Coronavirus: Uhuru approves wider internet coverage initiative
SCI & TECH
By Fredrick Obura | March 23rd 2020
President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced the approval of rollout of faster internet across the country to aid the economy currently feeling the impact of coronavirus
He said learners, those working from home and regions previously unreached by faster internet will benefit from Google and Telkom Kenya initiative to receive high-speed internet through Google Loon balloons project.
“In that regard, and to foster communication and enable Kenyans to retain and enhance remote access to the offices and enterprises, My Administration has granted approvals that will ensure universal 4G Data Coverage throughout Kenya,” said President Uhuru.
“Going forward the Google Loon balloons will hover on Kenya’s airspace to provide faster internet, the initiative will help learners access digital learning materials and those working from home to go about their work with fewer difficulties,” he said.
The loon balloons will fly over Kenyan airspace in an agreement signed between the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) with Google Loon. The balloons, which will hover well above Kenya’s commercial airspace, carry 4G base stations and have the capacity to provide wider signal coverage.
Loon’s solution works by beaming Internet connectivity from these ground stations to a balloon 20km overhead. From there, the signal can be sent across multiple balloons, creating a network of floating cell towers that deliver connectivity directly to a user’s LTE-enabled device below.
The regulatory approvals allow Loon to host the Telkom spectrum on its stratospheric balloons; utilise millimeter wave spectrum to send connectivity from the ground to balloons overhead, and import and install ground infrastructure.
Internet experts in the country terming it a good direction towards achieving universal access have welcomed the move
Alex Gakuru, the Executive Director of Code IP Trust says the move will see all corners of the country connected to faster internet and heralds a new way of doing business. “We have for long talked about the universal access, the Google-Telkom initiative will distribute internet equally across the country enabling businesses and supporting internet based learning even in remotest parts of the country,” he says.
He called on strict enforcement of data privacy laws to protect misuse of information anticipated to go online following the new partnership.
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