Project Loon staying under Alphabet X umbrella - Mobile World Live

Project Loon staying under Alphabet X umbrella

16 OCT 2017

Alphabet’s X lab dismissed reports Project Loon is set to become its latest programme to be spun out into a separate entity.

X confirmed Project Loon would remain under its purview in a Tweet, which followed reports last week stating the project was set to go it alone. Those rumours were sparked by a filing with the Federal Communications Commission referring to “Loon Inc”. Business Insider postulated the incorporation of Loon could be a sign Alphabet was planning to let the project operate as its own company, as happened with Waymo.

In February, Alphabet appointed Alastair Westgarth, former CEO of Tango Networks and Quintel, as Project Loon’s chief executive. During Mobile World Congress Americas in September, Westgarth told Mobile World Live he expected the balloon service to be profitable in the next couple of years.

Project Loon was thrust back into the spotlight in recent weeks as an option to restore mobile connectivity in hurricane-battered Puerto Rico. The FCC granted approval for Alphabet to take Project Loon to the island last week, as mobile operators continue to struggle with service restoration.

As of the morning of 15 October, the FCC reported 75 per cent of cell sites on Puerto Rico remained out of service.

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Diana Goovaerts

Diana is Mobile World Live's US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana came to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine, digital-only...

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