Google Loon in Sri Lanka and the Race For Control of Last-Mile Internet Connectivity – Strategy With RS

In Sri Lanka, merely 3 million people are connected in some internet, out of the total populations of approx.. 22 million. Imagine if every citizen of Sri Lanka were connected to Internet? It would change so many lives!

To achieve this mission, Google has teamed up with the Sri Lanka government to deliver broadband connectivity to every region of the island nation, making it the 1st country in the world to have Universal Internet coverage. Since Sri Lanka is spread over 65000 square kilometer area, make the job easier.

This initiative is part of Google’s Project Loon, which aims to provide cheap or free internet connectivity to people in remote rural areas around the world via a fleet of helium-filled balloons floating way up in the stratosphere.

For Sri Lanka, Google’s plan is to have a network of about 13 balloons floating in the stratosphere at around 19 kms up – which is 2x the height at which commercial airlines fly. These balloons will receive Wi-Fi signal from ground station below & they will bounce these signals along to each other. Every time a balloon receives a signal it will transmit it to an area of 40 kms in diameter below, allowing people to directly connect to the 3G network using smart phones & other devices.

Why is Google so magnanimous in providing cheap / free Internet connectivity to every citizen of Sri Lanka? And subsequently to the world!

It is believed that the world biggest battle is being fought among companies to control the last mile connectivity into user’s home, with the belief that the company which controls the last mile will take home the world’s richest jackpot.

No wonder Facebook is also working on ‘’ with a goal to make basic Internet service available to every person in the world. To read more click here

Or take Space Internet or O3B – Other 3 Billion, efforts are being made to also provide high speed internet connectivity to every person on the planet. To read more about them click here

Do you also believe that the company, which controls the last mile Internet connectivity, will lord over the world?

Happy to hear from you.




In this series, Rajesh Srivastava, Business Strategist and Visiting Faculty at IIM Indore gives you a regular dose of strategy case studies to help you think and keep you one step ahead as a professional as compared to your peers. Rajesh is an alumnus of IIM Bangalore and IIT Kanpur and has over 2 decades of experience in the FMCG industry. All previous Strategy with RS posts can be found here



ramji yahoo

it is a good move, but srilankans or indian or pakistanis do not have that much purchasing power as desired by google or facebook,. Instead Google or facebook must focus on Qatar or Bahrain or Kuwait where the purchasing power is more and per capita income is higher and the area is also small.

Rajesh Srivastava

Ramji apology for delay in responding … Google is beta testing the concept … they want to make all the mistake in the market which is, as you pointed out, less lucrative. Once they perfect the system they should follow your suggestion.

Team Insideiim

Sir, do you think this will affect net neutrality if companies like Facebook, Google who own these information highways start subsidizing certain websites or platforms in the long run?

Rajesh Srivastava

Team InsideIIM apology for responding so so late .. I had missed it. Of course it will have an impact on Net Neutrality. The biggest battle being fought today is to own the last mile into customers home – the company which owns it will dominate the world like we have not seen till now. Apple, Amazon, FB, Google are all worthy competitors fighting among themselves to win this war.