Sri Lanka has secured 25% stake in a project launched by Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) with the aim of delivering high internet with the help of balloons.
The country’s minister of telecommunications, Harin Fernando, announced that the state has invested in the project together with Google. He stated that Google has already delivered the balloons filled with helium as well as the equipment required for the tests. The tests will commence sometime this month and will be carried out in a suburb called Ratmalana located in the Colombo, the state capital.
Mr. Fernando said the state government will only not add further to the 25% stake that it has in the project. However, telephone service providers in the country have also been provided with the opportunity to take part in the project through a 10% stake set aside for them. The minister also added that the internet service providers are in support of “Project Loon” because it will allow them to expand their services while at the same time leading to improved pricing through cheaper rates.
The companies will, therefore, get a chance to enhance the quality of their services including the speeds of their services. It will also be a significant opportunity for them to expand coverage to the whole island. The project will not interfere with air travel routes because the balloons will be situated at higher altitudes than airline routes. Mr. Fernando revealed that the balloons have a lifespan of 180 days and can be recycled. He provided the insight after visiting Google’s testing grounds in Silicon Valley.
Research data indicates that there are 3.3 million mobile internet connections in the country and 630,000 members subscribed to fixed internet lines. The country has a population of 20 million people. The government hopes that the project will allow more people to access internet services. Better internet services and coverage will most likely bring more people into the internet world especially through mobile devices.