Economy

Balloons to help restore Puerto Rico's cell networks

Balloons to help restore Puerto Rico's cell networks”

Last week, the Project Loon team revealed that it was exploring the possibility of deploying balloons to provide "emergency connectivity" to Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

"Project Loon, a balloon-delivered internet project that started with Google and is now under Alphabet's (which owns Google) X 'innovation lab" stable, may soon be helping Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands residents receive quality LTE cellular service and highspeed internet.

Despite the advanced technology on the balloons, the internet still needs to come from somewhere though.

Puerto Rico is still reeling in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which struck the island on September 20 and paralyzing winds, rain and storm surge.

Mr Musk said the company would send more battery installers to Puerto Rico to help restore power after Hurricane Maria knocked out all power on the island over two weeks ago.

U.S. authorities have approved Alphabet Inc's application to use its experimental Project Loon balloons to provide emergency mobile phone service to disaster-stricken Puerto Rico, as Tesla said it would send more battery supplies.

The FCC's daily status report also shows significant wireline, TV and radio outages remain in both US territories.

The Loon project consists of a network of high altitude balloons that rise like weather balloons to a height above 60,000 feet.

Tesla and Google are joining an effort to rebuild the island's infrastructure that also includes Facebook, which committed to send its connectivity staff to the island to help in recovery and reconstruction.

As Harris spotted, earlier today the FCC granted a "Special Temporary Authorization" to "support licensed mobile carriers' restoration of limited communications capability in areas of Puerto Rico". X is working with local service providers to integrate the balloons and their networks.

Much of the ground work is being spearheaded by nonprofit organizations and small firms with expertise in rural or emergency communications. With 83% of all cell phone service in Puerto Rico still out due to the hurricane, a solution is direly needed, to say the least. Aid workers are pairing Vanu's devices with other technology, such as inflatable satellite antennas. "You don't have to announce you've lit up coverage".



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