Google’s parent firm, Alphabet, is packing up the idea of using a fleet of balloons to beam high-speed internet in remote parts of the world. The firm recently said that it was winding down Loon, a 9-year-old project and a 2-and-a-half-year-old spin off firm, after failing to find a sustainable business model and partners for one of its most prominent moonshot projects.
Though, Loon had secured approval from the government of Kenya to launch first balloons to provide commercial connectivity services — something it did successfully achieve months later, giving an impression that things were moving in the right direction. After the announcement, the firm said it had pledged a fund of $10 mn to support nonprofits and businesses focused on connectivity, internet, entrepreneurship and education in Kenya.
“We talk a lot about connecting the next billion users, but the reality is Loon has been chasing the hardest problem of all in connectivity — the last billion users,” wrote Alastair Westgarth, chief executive of Loon, in a blog post.