Loon partners with AT&T to extend coverage globally in case of disasters2020-05-06 11:24 by Daniela
Tags: Loon, AT&T
Loon, the former Google X project and now independent Alphabet company, has formed a network partnership with AT&T that will make it easier for Loon to provide internet connectivity through its high-altitude broadband balloons over disaster zones. The partnership is designed to let Loon get its balloons up and running quicker when disasters knock out traditional internet infrastructure.
"This is a huge step forward for Loon and our relationship with AT&T, which dates back to our efforts in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria," said Loon's CEO Alastair Westgarth, in a blog post. "In many ways, this moment is the result of years of collaboration and learning in the years following. We're extremely excited about continuing our relationship with AT&T and what the future will bring."
Integrating with local networks is just one part of the prep work the company has to do before it can offer a service. It also needs to build ground infrastructure to act as a connection between its balloons, its partner's core network, and the wider internet. Then there's the issue of getting government and regulatory approvals.
Loon also explains that it has secured further approvals to fly over new countries including Kenya, Uganda, Namibia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, Malawi, and Lesotho. That brings the total to over 50 worldwide. Loon is also working to "strategically" install more ground stations in the Caribbean ahead of hurricane season.
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