Sri Lanka is all set to buy 25% stake in Google’s prestigious Project Loon to deliver high-speed internet service powered by Google balloons in the country. This will make Sri Lanka the first country to have universal internet access.
The deal for using Google Balloons for high-speed internet was first announced in July 2015, according to which free Long-Term Evolution (LTE) connections will be made available across the island nation by March 2016. Owing to the deal, Google has already imported the giant helium-filled balloons and other related equipment needed to carry the test at Ratmalana, a suburb of Colombo. This trial could last a year.
“Our objective is to extend coverage so that the entire island will be covered,” Telecommunications minister Harin Fernando said. “With competition, tariffs will also come down.”
Besides the 25% stake in Google Project Loon, the government also calls for 10% of joint venture shares which can be availed by the existing telephone service providers in the country.
Sri Lanka is estimated to have 3.3 million mobile internet connections and 630,000 fixed line internet subscribers.
The helium-filled Google balloons will be deployed in the stratosphere, which stands twice as high as the commercial airliners. They will be barely visible to naked eye. These balloons will have 180 days of lifespan and can be recycled.