Project Loon signs up Sri Lanka

Project Loon signs up Sri Lanka

30 JUL 2015

Project Loon is aiming to provide internet coverage to Sri Lanka, thanks to the Google-backed satellite venture’s first agreement with a national government.

The country’s Foreign Minister, Mangala Samaraweera, was bullish about rollout plans, declaring; “In a few months we will try [to] be able to say: Sri Lanka covered.”

However, a report in the Financial Times poured some cold water on such talk. The MoU between the country and Google has no timetable for the project to begin, it said. And a source added a launch was “highly unlikely” to happen in 2015.

“This is more of an agreement to have further discussions about how we set it up,” the person said. “Any launch is going to be quite a long way off — a year or two at least.”

This fits with Google’s previous statement that it is eyeing a commercial launch for Project Loon in 2016.

Previous agreements the satellite venture has struck have been with mobile operators, including Telefonica, Telstra and Vodafone. The agreements covered trials of Loon. Its initial trial was in New Zealand in 2013.

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Richard Handford

Richard is the editor of Mobile World Live’s money channel and a contributor to the daily news service. He is an experienced technology and business journalist who previously worked as a freelancer for many publications over the last decade including...

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