They present an Internet service via aerostats for remote areas: where will it be deployed and how does it work?

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The British company World Mobile has recently announced plans to launch a network over the Zanzibar region (Tanzania) that will provide Internet service through aerostats, they report local media .

The first device will be deployed in May next year, said the company’s director of operations, Alan Omnet, in a video posted on his official Twitter account on December 1. In this way, the territory will be able to enjoy a modern digital infrastructure, according to the mobile phone company.

“Zanzibar will become the world’s first smart region powered by World Mobile, connecting businesses, schools and society as a whole,” he pointed CEO Micky Watkins.

How does it work?

According to World Mobile, the balloons are inflated with helium and are relatively autonomous thanks to solar panels that produce the necessary electricity. Once airborne, they begin to function as transmitters of radio signals to stations and devices on the ground.

According to Watkins, that design is only the first phase of his project. The second foresees the deployment of “high altitude platforms”, that is, atmospheric balloons that will fly in the stratosphere, at about 15 to 20 kilometers high.

Regarding the terrestrial infrastructure, it will consist of multiple Wi-Fi nodes. In particular, during the first six months of 2022, more than 100 stations of this type are expected to start up.

Where will it work?

The technology will be tested in Zanzibar, where an aerostat will cover 75% of the territory. In this way, almost 900,000 inhabitants will be provided with an Internet connection.

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The method could then be used in other remote and underserved territories by incumbents. Among the most likely areas of its future expansion are the rest of Tanzania and Kenya, where the company is already in talks.

World Mobile points out that in the world there are “around 4,000 million unconnected people” and that it is willing to work to cover those areas.

In January, Google’s parent company Alphabet announced the closure of Loon, a similar project based on stratospheric balloons. The year before, it had deployed a 25-ball fleet over 50,000 square kilometers in Kenya. However, “The road to commercial viability turned out to be longer and riskier” than expected, the tech giant acknowledged.

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