Alphabet’s Project Loon Forms Advisory Board With Telecom Experts

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Saying that it’s now proven the concept of using a stratospheric balloon to bring broadband to those who lack high-speed connectivity, the people behind Project Loon say they want to bring the company to the next level. After focusing mostly on technology, the company wants to also concentrate on the business case.

As it transitions to a commercial business, Loon wants to partner with those who have significant experience connecting people every day. “Mobile network operators (MNOs) have decades of experience delivering connectivity to billions of users around the world. With Loon’s technology, we see a valuable opportunity to help MNOs reach more people in areas that have been difficult or impossible to serve,” the company says. Loon is pitching itself as an infrastructure solution that will allow MNOs to expand their networks and attract new customers. 

Founding board members include Craig McCaw, with experience in cable, cellular, wireless broadband and satellite industries. He was Chairman and CEO of McCaw Cellular Communications, until the company was sold to AT&T in 1994. He then went on to restructure Nextel Communications and co-founded Clearwire Corporation. Now, McCaw is Chairman and CEO of Eagle River, a private investment firm focusing on the communications industry.

Board member Ian Small is CEO of Evernote, a Silicon Valley mobile and desktop personal productivity application provider. Previously, Small was global Chief Data Officer and a member of the executive committee of Telefónica S.A., one of the world’s largest telcos.

Marni Walden comes to the Loon board from Verizon, where she was EVP and President of Global Media and New Business. Walden also led the corporate strategy team, which included acquisitions and investments through Verizon Ventures.  

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January 16, 2019

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