Large Internet-Beaming Balloons Might Be Headed To Puerto Rico

Kristopher Drake
October 8, 2017

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

Mr Musk said the company would send more battery installers to Puerto Rico to help restore power after Hurricane Maria knocked out all power on the island over two weeks ago. This new internal task force will work to support the restoration of communications services in areas affected by this season's hurricanes, with an emphasis of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In late September, Tesla said it was sending hundreds of batteries that can store power generated by solar panels to Puerto Rico to provide emergency help in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

Alphabet will attempt to provide service in Puerto Rico after the FCC approved their experimental license for Project Loon, an initiative that launches giant balloons with network hardware in them to provide internet access to users on the ground. The X innovations team that runs Project Loon, which was spun out of Google, now needs to finalize a telecomms firm to partner with.

The helium balloons are expected to deliver emergency LTE cellular reception to allow residents and local governments to contact friends and family, coordinate relief and restoration efforts, and reestablish communication with the outside world. "It is critical that we adopt a coordinated and comprehensive approach to support the rebuilding of communications infrastructure", said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in a statement.

As communication providers that were impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria continue their recovery effort, the FCC has announced the creation of a Hurricane Recovery Task Force. Now around 10 percent of residents on the island have power. It appears to be a ideal fit for helping Puerto Rico get back online.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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