Loon Internet Balloons to Launch in Puerto Rico


Google is stepping into the crisis in Puerto Rico to help out with some cutting edge technology that will provide emergency phone reception.

"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".

The Project Loon team is planning to deploy several balloons beneath the sky for an emergency LTE service, which will be using Band 8 LTE.

The Federal Communications Commission has issued an "experimental license" to X, the moonshot outfit owned by Google's parent company, Alphabet, to try and provide service to the ailing island. Musk is in talks with Ricadro Rossello, the island's governor, about what could be done. As it explains in its official blog post about the project, 2 out of every 3 people in the world still don't have reliable access to the internet, leaving many large swaths of the world in the past.

"Communication is critical during a disaster", Zuckerberg said after the hurricane hit, announcing that employees from his company's connectivity team - the same group working to build high-altitude drones that can beam internet service down to Earth - were heading to Puerto Rico. The project is now under the domain of Alphabet. 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.

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". "We've been making solid progress on this next step and would like to thank everyone who's been lending a hand".

The balloons will act as replacements for the island's destroyed cell towers, but they can only transmit the data.

The Carribean country Puerto Rico has been caught with a deadly hurricane named Maria last day, of 150 mph.

Because X was already testing in Peru when it was struck with floods, the Caribbean deployment may take more time than that successful run.

However, it appears that the lack of an existing infrastructure did not pose too significant of a delay.