Google’s parent dumps another looney plan – ballon bursts for Loon

OAKLAND, Calif. (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc is shutting down Loon after concluding the business, which offers balloons as an alternative to cell towers, is not commercially viable, Google’s parent company said on Thursday. But the wireless carriers which Loon saw as buyers questioned the technical and political viability of the idea. “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,” Loon CEO Alastair Westgarth said in a blog post. The technology previously proved successful in short projects to provide cell coverage in Peru and Puerto Rico when cell towers were downed by natural disasters. It drew a $125 million investment that year from SoftBank’s HAPSMobile, which is working on floating cell equipment using drones.

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