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Alphabet Pops Air Out Of Internet Balloon Project

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Mohit Manghnani
·1 min read
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Google parent Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGLpulled the plug on its eight-year-old Loon project, the gigantic balloons that beam internet to the underserved areas.

What Happened: Loon was an experimental project that started inside Alphabet’s “moonshot factory,” but eventually made its way into the “Other Bets” division. Loon’s internet balloons were the size of a tennis court that navigate and fly autonomously to beam internet in the underserved areas.

“While we’ve found a number of willing partners along the way, we haven’t found a way to get the costs low enough to build a long-term, sustainable business. Developing radical new technology is inherently risky, but that doesn’t make breaking this news any easier,” Loon’s CEO Alastair Westgarth said in a blog post

Why It Matters: Though the technology was successful, the project wasn’t commercially viable. As per the Wired report, internet availability rose from 75% of the world to 93% as 4G technology became cheaper. The remaining unconnected areas either cannot afford a 4G phone or are not interested in gaining internet access. 

Loon’s chairman Astro Teller said in a separate blog post that Loon is pledging “a fund of $10M to support nonprofits and businesses focused on connectivity, Internet, entrepreneurship and education in Kenya.”

Price Action: GOOG shares closed 0.23% higher at $1,891.25 on Thursday.

Image Courtesy: Wikimedia

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