Let me begin by saying that you read that title right, Internet by balloon is a thing, but not in the way you might think. For a little over 5 years a branch of the conglomerate Alphabet which is Google’s parent company has been working on developing an effective and affordable method for increasing internet penetration throughout the world. The project they have been working on is called Project Loon and is meant to provide fast and reliable internet to remote parts of the world using weather balloons.
Weather balloons are made from polyethylene and filled with helium gas, because of the helium they are able to rise into the air and hover in the stratosphere which is a part of the atmosphere about 20 km above sea level. At this height they are free from air traffic, rain, storms or flying birds. Powered by solar panels and with the guidance of the wind they are able to float about for months at a time. Relevant read: Keep your cyber reputation safe in 3 quick moves
For any given area there are many balloons in a network and they have the ability to provide a WiFi signal with 4G LTE capabilities. Each balloon’s internet network can cover a 40 km ground radius which for comparison is about the same distance as from Kampala to Lugazi. Project loon is yet to launch in Kenya and it is my prayer that they come to Uganda after that because after the failure of the government’s efforts to provide free WiFi in the capital city, this just might be the answer to the prayer many have made over the years.
Here is a short video that shows just how Project Loon operates