Alphabet's Loon to launch mobile internet balloons in Peruvian Amazonia

Loon to bring internet access to remote Peruvian regions with balloons

On Thursday, Loon announced that it's working with Telefónica to launch "balloon-powered internet" in Peru.

In an effort to bring mobile internet to areas in Peru where "conventional telecom infrastructure deployment is not yet economically feasible," Alphabet subsidiary Loon is launching its internet-delivering balloons to expand online access.

The balloons, which act as "floating cell towers," travel 20km (over 12 miles) above sea level, a height that is above wildlife, weather events, and even air traffic to provide users below with 4G/LTE connectivity.

The company is working with Internet Para Todos Perú, an open-access rural mobile infrastructure operator owned by Spanish telecommunications company Telefónica, to bring Telefónica customers located in the Amazon Rainforest region -- one of the biggest remote areas in the country -- with internet connectivity.

Access is expected to come to part of the Loreto region where approximately 200,000 people live, a large percentage of whom only currently have 3G connectivity or worse.

Loon and Telefónica first began working together in 2014 when the technology was being tested and later collaborated during 2017 and 2019 when various natural disasters devastated several regions of the country.

The project will launch in 2020, making Peru the first country to utilize this balloon-internet technology long-term for a non-emergency situation. Internet Para Todos has plans to bring more than 30,000 communities access to internet connectivity by 2021.

Loon likewise signed a contract with Kenya to operate their balloons in remote areas in the country. The company is simply waiting for regulatory approval to send the balloons into the stratosphere.