Kenyan farmer threatens to sue Google for fallen internet balloon

Fredrick Ngugi January 03, 2018
A Google internet balloon that fell in Meru, eastern Kenya. Photo credit: Citizen TV

A Kenyan farmer has threatened to take world’s tech giant Google to court over its huge internet balloon that fell off from the sky and onto his farm on Saturday morning.

The farmer, Mr. Joseph Kobia, claims that the balloon caused huge damages to his farm in Meru County, eastern Kenya, adding that locals who flocked his farm to see the strange equipment looted and destroyed his crops.

The incident shocked the village residents, some of whom reportedly feared that it was the end of the world while others thought it was an alien invasion. Last year, an internet balloon fell in Brazil, causing panic among the residents who thought it was a UFO.

Another one fell in Colombia in March, a month after Google announced that it will begin implementing a new technology that will help in predicting weather patterns and improve the balloon’s reliability.

The satellite is part of Google’s project dubbed Project Loon, whose aim is to provide internet access to remote areas in Africa and other parts of the world. Although the balloon is designed to fall safely away from human settlements, sometimes strong winds can push it in the wrong direction.

Project Loon, which uses high-altitude balloons to beam high-speed internet, has helped to improve internet connectivity in far-flung areas in eastern and northeastern Kenya, including Isiolo, Garissa, Meru, Mandera, and Marsabit counties.

These balloons are always travelling on the edge of space, extending internet to areas where other forms of connectivity are not feasible.

Google is yet to make any official statement on the incident and the impending court case.

Last Edited by:Ismail Akwei Updated: January 3, 2018


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