Following the magnitude 8.0 quake that rocked Peru last Sunday, the Loon balloons have shown they can have a quick response. Within 48 hours, the Alphabet company got their balloons to get LTE internet coverage to affected users. Loon believes that the speed with which it was able to respond is proof of the company's potential.
This is not the first time that Loon provides connectivity after a disaster. In 2017, following Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, the balloons took the internet to 100,000 people. However, it took four weeks to complete the process. What made the difference in the case of Peru was the fact that negotiations are under way between Loon and the international operator Telefónica. For this reason, the first infrastructures have been set up since last month. which allowed some balloons to be close to the site.
In his official blog, Loon considers the fundamental preparation. "It takes a lot of planning and organization to make the balloon-powered internet work. Before we start providing the service, it is necessary to install terrestrial infrastructure, integration with an operator's mobile network, ensure regulatory approvals and, of course, launch the balloons and navigate them to the desired location. "
Thus, Loon concludes that if it is already active in a country, as was the case in Peru, its "capacity to respond to a natural disaster can be measured in hours or days rather than weeks." Since 2018 the Loon project has been in operation in Kenya and has been adopted by a local communications company to provide online services in the central areas of the country where coverage is very difficult to achieve due to the difficulty of building antennas on certain aggressive grounds.