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Aviation Authority, Google Loon to give Universal data coverage free of cost

The  Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA), has signed an agreement with Google Loon that allows Loon Balloons to fly over Kenyan Airspace so as to ensure universal 4G Data Coverage throughout Kenya.

These balloons, which will hover well above the commercial airspace, carry 4G base stations and have the capacity to provide wider signal coverage in recognition of the extra-ordinary nature of the Covid-19 global health challenge that has gripped the world, without levying any charges.

President Uhuru Kenyatta in his address to the nation on Monday said that his Administration will continue to roll out a raft of measures to mitigate the disruptions to our life arising from the pandemic.

He noted that universal 4G data coverage by Google Loon throughout Kenya will enable adequate communication as well as Kenyans to retain and enhance remote access to the Offices and Enterprises.

“This intervention will enable Kenya to retain her competitive advantages in ICT and innovation in the midst of the current crisis while at the same time laying the foundations for greater expansion once the current health challenge is contained,” he noted.

Additionally, Kenyatta stated that this development will also enable Telkom Kenya Ltd (TKL) and Google Loon to start the commercial rollout of a 4G data network in the Country as soon as the balloons are available on the Kenyan airspace. The two companies have been testing this service for the last two years.

Once inaugurated, this service will extend Telkom Kenya’s 4G network to areas that are not currently covered by any of our mobile network providers. Therefore, all Kenyans, wherever they are in our Country, will enjoy access to high-speed and affordable internet services.

“I note the gesture by Google Loon and Telkom to offer their 4G service to support our efforts in surveillance and management of Coronavirus infections. This will go a long way in containing the present health challenge,” he said.

The President observed that access to these services will keep Kenyans connected to emergency services and to their loved ones, whether isolated or in quarantine, or whether working from home or at the usual workplaces.

“Equally, this service will also enable teachers and students to access education materials remotely, especially in this challenging time; thus enabling our students to continue learning from home,” he asserted further observing that his Administration has developed and is implementing a comprehensive lessons programme for learners to access while safe within their homes.

By  Alice  Gworo

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