Alphabet Shuts Down Loon

Alphabet Inc. subsidiary - Loon - provides Internet access to rural and remote areas, using high-altitude balloons in the stratosphere.

Alphabet Inc, Google's parent company, is shutting down its internet balloon business, Loon. Loon aimed to provide a less expensive alternative - floating balloons - to cell towers.

"The road to commercial viability has proven much longer and riskier than hoped,...In the coming months, we’ll begin winding down operations and it will no longer be an Other Bet within Alphabet." said Astro Teller, who leads Moonshots, X.

Alphabet launched Loon in 2013, and Loon upgraded from a moonshot to an independent company within Alphabet in 2018. Loon was formed to bring connectivity to areas of the world where building cell towers is too expensive by floating balloons. Loon makes uses high-altitude balloons in the stratosphere at an altitude of 18 km to 25 km to create an aerial wireless network with up to 1 Mbit/s speeds.


Well, Loon is not the only moonshot that Alphabet has shut down. Last year, the company wound down Makani, which aimed to use wind turbines attached to kites to create renewable electricity. And Project Foghorn, which aimed to research on creating clean fuel from seawater, reached its end in 2016.

"While we’ve found a number of willing partners along the way to get the costs low enough to build a long-term, sustainable business," Loon CEO Alastair Westgarth said in a blog post.

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