May 31, 2019 - Science

Loon helps restore internet access in Peru

This image shows a large clear balloon from the Loon project.

A Project Loon balloon in Mountain View, Calif. in 2016. Photo: Andrej Sokolow/picture alliance via Getty Images

In the wake of an earthquake in Peru last weekend, Alphabet's Loon unit was able to quickly restore temporary internet access using its balloons.

The big picture: This was due, in large part, because it had already been in talks with Telefonica to bring its service to parts of the country and had offered its service in 2017 after flooding.

Details: Loon delivered the first service to Peru's earthquake-hit areas within 48 hours, as compared to the 4 weeks it took to deliver the first Loon-based connections to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

  • Loon served about 20,000 unique users in the first 2 days of service, a representative told Axios.
  • "With Loon already active in a country, as is the case in Peru, our ability to respond to a natural disaster can be measured in hours or days rather than weeks," Loon CEO Alastair Westgarth said in a blog post.

What's next: Loon plans to start using its balloons to deliver regular service as opposed to just responding to disasters. The company plans to begin commercial service later this year in Kenya, among other places.

Go deeper: Cellular internet service in Puerto Rico now available via Project Loon

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