Google’s balloon-powered high-speed Internet service known as “Project Loon” began its first tests in Sri Lanka yesterday (Monday 15th) ahead of a planned joint venture with Colombo.
The Chief of the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) said one of three balloons that will be used in the trials entered the Sri Lankan airspace yesterday.
The Chief said “The first balloon was launched from South America. It is currently over southern Sri Lanka.”
He said a Google team was expected later this week to test flight controls, spectrum efficiency and other technical matters.
The government announced earlier this month it would take a 25 per cent stake in a joint venture with Google to deliver a high-speed Internet service powered by helium-filled balloons.
Sri Lanka is not investing any capital, but will take the stake in return for allocating spectrum for the project.
A further 10 per cent of the joint venture would be offered to existing telephone service providers in the island.
It promises to extend coverage and cheaper rates for data services. Service providers will be able to access higher speeds and improve the quality of their existing service once the balloon project is up and running.