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Google balloons to help restore Puerto Rico's cell networks

09 Octubre 2017

Alphabet's X division works with existing telecommunication carries in an area with Loon and that existing carrier's service gets relayed across the balloons and directly to the LTE devices in the hands of users on the ground.

On Friday, FCC chairman Ajit Pai announced that he was forming a Hurricane Recovery Task Force, aimed at addressing the challenges facing Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands in the wake of the recent hurricanes.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Friday gave Google's parent company a green light to provide emergency cellular service in Puerto Rico using air balloons.

"22 (same as yesterday ) out of the 78 counties in Puerto Rico have 100 percent of their cell sites out of service". Loon requires local partners to work, and in the case of the Peru project, relationships with wireless providers and other players were already in place. According to an updated tally from the Washington Post, as of Saturday, just 11.7 per cent of the commonwealth has access to electricity, 55.5 per cent has water, and just 44 per cent has cell phone service.

Nearly 95% of the island's residents are still living in the dark after Maria wiped out the island's power network. Soros similarly sunk huge amounts of cash into the 2004 presidential race behind John Kerry to oust President George W. Bush.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg vowed to send a "connectivity team" t help restore Puerto Rico's communications.


However, restoring communications to Puerto Rico may be more challenging. Its main purpose is to provide mobile connectivity to disaster and rural areas through weather balloons with fitted with cell radios.

The FCC licence will allow X to fly balloons until April 4, 2018, though it remains unclear how much of the territories in question will be covered by the experiment. Rather than provide internet service itself, the company will focus on restoring cell phone services in the country. Alphabet has begun ramping up pressure for moonshots to generate revenue, partly in hopes of diversifying beyond the search-driven advertising business that still makes up the overwhelming majority of its profits. Awesome tech, for a great cause, Alphabet. Each balloon has the capacity to serve 1,930 square miles or 5,000 square kilometers, effectively covering the entire island and some parts of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Google balloons to help restore Puerto Rico's cell networks