Alphabet Inc. is scrapping its nine-year-old project to use high-altitude balloons to deliver internet access to remote areas.
In a blog post Thursday, Alastair Westgarth, CEO of Alphabet’s Project Loon, said: “We haven’t found a way to get the costs low enough to build a long-term, sustainable business. … Today, I’m sad to share that Loon will be winding down.”
Loon was part of Alphabet’s
“X” business unit, which experiments with moonshot projects. Two other X units — Makani, which used kites to generate wind energy, and Foghorn, a project to create clean fuel from ocean water — have also been abandoned in recent years.
Westgarth said the cost of delivering internet service with existing technology to the most remote places “is just too expensive for everyday people,” adding “we haven’t found a way to get the costs low enough to build a long-term, sustainable business.”
Loon launched its first commercial service last summer in Kenya.
In a separate blog post Thursday, X chief Astro Teller said that while Loon is going away, it will give $10 million to support nonprofits and businesses focused on “connectivity, internet, entrepreneurship and education in Kenya.”