Zimbabwe Turns to Innovation to Increase Internet Coverage
Loon Internet balloons are now flying over Zimbabwe’s airspace. The balloons,
owned by Alphabet (Google's parent company), float over targeted communities and are therefore able to deliver internet access extensive reach in places that lack infrastructure.
Vodacom has already partnered with Alphabet in Mozambique as the balloons require connection to cellphone towers to to operate. The Loons are designed to add a diameter reach of 80 km to the network.
If the Zimbabwean initiative is modelled on a similar initiative in Mozambique, the Loon service will reach remote populations who are underserved and require improved access to emergency, health and other services. In addition, it would also link remote clinics to hospitals and other mapped health care facilities throughout the provinces.
Zimbabwe, and the rest of Africa, finds itself in a critical position. It is crucial that
opportunities to ensure extended reach and resources and thoroughly considered when it
comes to providing access to the internet as a means to facilitate access to health, financial and other essential services.