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WATCH ON DEMAND FROM 25 Jan 2021
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Sri Lanka signs up to receive internet by balloon from Google's Project Loon

Sri Lanka has become the first country to sign up to Google's Project Loon which will use high-altitude balloons to bring the internet to remote areas.

The Times reports that Project Loon head Michael Cassidy travelled to Sri Lanka this week to finalise the agreement with Ranil Wickremesinghe, the prime minister, and that the balloons are expected to be launched by March.

According to IT minister Mangala Samaraweera, the deal means the "entire Sri Lankan island, every village, will be covered with affordable high-speed internet".

Project Loon has been tested in Brazil and New Zealand, and sees balloons drift more than twice the height of current commercial aircraft.

The ambitious initiative bears similarities with Facebook's Aquila programme, which includes a solar-powered internet delivering drone.

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