Google Brings Cellular Service to Puerto Rico Using Balloons

by Ben Pena October 8, 2017, 0:20
Google Brings Cellular Service to Puerto Rico Using Balloons

Musk said he was diverting resources from a semi-truck project to fix Model 3 bottlenecks and "increase battery production for Puerto Rico & other affected areas".

On September 29th the X team said it was looking into ways to help Puerto Rico with Project Loon, similar to the way it helped provide service in Peru after extreme rains and flooding struck the nation in March.

Loon balloons, which carry communications equipment as high as 20 kilometers into the atmosphere, would circumvent those earthbound hurdles - at least temporarily.

When it comes to power, Tesla boss Elon Musk wants to get the lights back on in Puerto Rico using a solar power grid designed by his company - the entrepreneur said on Twitter that projects completed on smaller islands could be scaled up.

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"We're grateful for the support of the FCC and the Puerto Rican authorities as we work hard to see if it's possible to use Loon balloons to bring emergency connectivity to the island during this time of need", said Libby Leahy, a spokesman for Alphabet's X division.

"The objective of the [Special Temporary Authority] is to support licensed mobile carriers' restoration of limited communications capability in areas of Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria", the license reads.

But there are limitations, she said Saturday. It appears to be a ideal fit for helping Puerto Rico get back online.

The FCC said on Friday that 83 per cent of cell sites remain out of service, while wireless communications company are deploying temporary sites. But with its aircraft still in the testing phase, the company said Friday that the engineers it's sent to Puerto Rico are focused on providing support to NetHope's teams. "You don't have to announce you've lit up coverage".


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