Bad publicity may take Loon away from SL

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By 2017-02-17

By M Rishar M Saleem

Unwanted media speculations could deprive Sri Lanka of the Google project and some other neighbouring country could benefit out of this says a Ministry of Digital Infrastructure statement issued clarifying unprecedented negative media uproar created around the stalled Project Loon.

Project Loon is an innovation spearheaded by Google and is a network of balloons travelling on the edge of space, designed to extend internet...connectivity to people in rural and remote areas worldwide.

The statement further notes that in keeping with the mandate to empower citizens by extending and strengthening affordable universal access to the internet throughout the country, ICTA initiated discussion with Google. Recognising the commitment of Sri Lanka in leveraging on ICTs to take the country to the next stage of development, Google offered its unique network of stratospheric balloons (Project Loon) to Sri Lanka.

The MoU signed by the Government of Sri Lanka and Google is only for piloting and Sri Lanka Government did not incur any expenses. Testing did not need a spectrum. If this testing was successful and initiated we would be the first country to have such project. Statement also quotes a global norm which says increase of 10 per cent of ICT could contribute to 1.2 per cent of GDP growth. Digitalizing is beneficial to the country. About the present state of the project, the statement further says 700 MH spectrums will be needed to be used and the licensing aspect is blocked due to some unforeseen legal issues raised by International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Statement shed positive light on getting clearance soon.

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