Google's parent company to restore wireless service in Puerto Rico using balloons

Jerome Frank
October 8, 2017

The FCC said yesterday that 83% of cell sites on the island are down, forcing carriers in the US territory to employ backup methods in an effort to get their networks running.

Musk agreed. Hours later, he announced he was delaying the unveiling of Tesla's new semi-truck and diverting resources, in part to "increase battery production for Puerto Rico and other affected areas".

The United States plans to have 17,000 military personnel in Puerto Rico to aid disaster recovery efforts after Hurricane Maria, a Democratic senator briefed on the plan told reporters on Saturday. The license extends from October 6th until April 4th, 2018, and it was granted to Ben Wojtowicz, a software engineer and member of Alphabet's X lab who works on Project Loon.

"The goal 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.

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Google's parent company is set to launch balloons into the Caribbean skies in an attempt to restore telephone networks in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.

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

Alphabet, which announced its Project Loon in 2013 to use solar-powered, high-altitude balloons to provide internet service in remote regions, said in an FCC filing it was working to "support licensed mobile carriers' restoration of limited communications capability" in Puerto Rico. "The Hurricane Recovery Task Force will allow us to do just that", Pai also said. It appears to be a flawless fit for helping Puerto Rico get back online. It had partnered with a telecomm company and was testing balloons. Even weeks later, only 10 percent of the island has power after thousands of phone towers were destroyed in the storm.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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