Google's balloon-powered high-speed Internet service known as "Project Loon" began its first tests in Sri Lanka Monday ahead of a planned joint venture with Colombo, the country's top IT official said.
One of three balloons that will be used in the trials entered Sri Lankan airspace Monday, the Information and Communication Technology Agency chief Muhunthan Canagey said.
"The first balloon entered our airspace this morning. It was launched from South America." Canagey told AFP. "It is currently over southern Sri Lanka."
He said a Google team was expected later this week to test flight controls, spectrum efficiency and other technical matters.
The government announced earlier this month it would take a 25 percent stake in a joint venture with Google to deliver a high-speed Internet service powered by helium-filled balloons.
Sri Lanka is not investing any capital, but will take the stake in return for allocating spectrum for the project. A further 10 percent of the joint venture would be offered to existing telephone service providers on the island.