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Alphabet is shutting down Loon, its ambitious internet balloon venture

January 22, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 68.8%. 2 min read.

Loon, a subsidiary of Google's parent company Alphabet, is winding down its operations.

Hong Kong (CNN Business)A futuristic project by Google's (GOOGL) parent company Alphabet to provide internet from high flying balloons has burst.

Loon, the Alphabet subsidiary that used giant balloons to beam internet to people in remote areas around the world, has announced that it is winding down its operations.

In a Medium post announcing the news, Loon CEO Alastair Westgarth explained that the company's business model was ultimately unsustainable.

"We talk a lot about connecting the next billion users, but the reality is Loon has been chasing the hardest problem of all in connectivity — the last billion users: The communities in areas too difficult or remote to reach, or the areas where delivering service with existing technologies is just too expensive for everyday people. "

The company went on to conduct years of tests, and in 2018, it was spun off from X to become its own Alphabet subsidiary.

The company based its technology on an eye-catching premise: that balloons would act as "floating base stations," which could cover a much larger area — about 200 times more — than a station on the ground.

In recent years, Loon had built a name for itself by connecting people during natural disasters.

Last year, the company also brought its balloons to Africa, marking the first commercial launch of a service of its kind in the region.

Telkom Kenya, the mobile service provider it partnered with, said Friday that it would discontinue the pilot with Loon in March.

The companies said they would team up to "bring more people, places, and things online. " HAPSMobile did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

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