Alphabet pulled support from its internet-beaming balloon subsidiary Loon, due to the company failing to find a financially stable business model.
In a statement, Alastair Westgarth, Loon CEO said: “While we’ve found a number of willing partners along the way, we haven’t found a way to get the costs low enough to build a long-term, sustainable business. Developing radical new technology is inherently risky, but that doesn’t make breaking this news any easier. Today, I’m sad to share that Loon will be winding down.”
Loon began operations in 2013 as a project from Alphabet’s experimental division X Lab.
After graduating to a full subsidiary in 2018, the company then showed more promise gaining government and regulatory approval to fly balloons. It then struck operator partnerships with AT&T, Vodacom Group and launched a commercial service with Telkom Kenya. There were plans in the pipeline to launch commercial services in Mozambique last year but this seemed to have not materialised.
Internet beaming balloons were the size of tennis courts, capable of delivering connectivity to over 11,000 square kilometre area, apparently 200 times that of an average cell tower.