Google parent company Alphabet announced Friday it was shutting down “Loon”, a high-profile project aiming to deliver wireless internet via flying balloons in the stratosphere, because it is not commercially viable.
The idea behind Loon was to build a network of balloons to expand internet connectivity to underserved areas and disaster zones and was initially part of an Alphabet “moonshot factory” known as X, which aims to create projects to disrupt new sectors.
In a blog, X’s Astro Teller announced the decision, adding: “Sadly, despite the team’s groundbreaking technical achievements over the last 9 years… the road to commercial viability has proven much longer and riskier than hoped.”
Loon was deployed to provide internet in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria in 2017, as well as after a major earthquake in Peru.
Last year it