Google Is Using Balloons to Restore Phone Service in Puerto Rico

Google to Provide Emergency Cell Service to Puerto Rico Via Balloons

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.

The approval is part of the FCC's larger promise to form a hurricane recovery task force that's primarily focused on Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

First up Google has just nabbed a temporary license for it to provide an emergency cell network across Puerto Rico using its Project Loon technology - that's where giant, floating balloons are used to get connectivity out to remote areas that lack the usual internet and cell tower infrastructure.

Alphabet has confirmed it plans to use solar-powered, high-altitude balloons to support the restoration of "limited communications capability" in the USA unincorporated territory.

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

Separately, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello said in a Twitter posting late on Friday that he had a "great initial conversation with @elonmusk tonight".

In the wake of Hurricane Maria, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pledged to send a "connectivity team" to help restore communications in ravaged Puerto Rico. Now around 10 percent of residents on the island have power. The company, along with Microsoft and others, backs the NetHope consortium, which specializes in setting up post-disaster communication networks and has field teams now operating in Puerto Rico and several other Caribbean islands.

Project Loon sends balloons intro the stratosphere - twice as high as commercial airliners - where they are self-powered by solar panels. The organization has already issues an experimental license for Loon balloons to launch over the devastated islands, but the company says that it may take some time.

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