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Project Loon balloons, from Google's Alphabet, to aid Puerto Rico

Project Loon balloons, from Google's Alphabet, to aid Puerto Rico”

Before it can initiate service, though, Loon has to clear a few more hurdles, officials said - notably, finding a wireless carrier to serve as its partner. The island, home to almost 3.5 million people, remains crippled by the Category 4 storm that struck last month, which disabled more than 90 percent of Puerto Rico's cell towers and left its communications infrastructure in shambles.

Project Loon is the name for Alphabet's (Google's parent company) ambitious project that provides cellular data capabilities from above. X division has noted that deploying Project loon over Puerto Rico would definitely be harder than deploying over Peru, which was done back in May after massive flooding caused disruption in internet and communications around that country.

Tesla had previously said, in late September, that it was sending to Puerto Rico hundreds of batteries that can rely on solar panels to store power which provides emergency aid in the wake of Hurricane Maria. The X team brings huge balloons over the required location with internet coverage made available for people n a specific rural area.

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When the balloons are floating in the air above the correct spot, ground stations send signals up to the balloon and the balloon sends signal down to the ground so people with a mobile phone can connect to the internet.

On Friday, 83 percent of the island's cell sites were out of service, according to the FCC - down only slightly from 84.6 percent the day before. Each balloon can serve nearly 2,000 square miles, and according to reports, that should be enough for service all over the island and perhaps portions of the U.S. Virgin Islands. "We've been making solid progress on this next step and would like to thank everyone who's been lending a hand".

The US Federal Communications Commission announced its decision on Friday evening, one of a number of ways in which tech companies are helping rebuild services.



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