Balloons To Be Flown Over Puerto Rico By Google
With the island’s communication systems still in disorder from Hurricane Maria, Google has stepped in to lend a hand. Google will be attempting to use solar-powered Internet Transmitting Balloons to provide emergency phone reception.
After an inadequate relief attempt by the U.S government, many big-name companies have stepped into provide Puerto Rico with the much-needed help it needs right now.
Under Google ‘s Project Loonis it is planning to fly around 30-35 balloons to get the communications channels back online to be used in case of emergencies after the cell towers were wiped out by the hurricane. In a report by US Federal Communications (FCC) 83% of phone towers are out of service. Loon is one of Google’s original “moonshot efforts designed to bring connectivity to remote areas of the world and locales struggling in the aftermath of natural disaster. It appears to be a perfect fit for helping Puerto Rico get back online. Helping speed up the process is the Loon team’s existing involvement with telecommunications provider Telefonica on the island.
The FCC has confirmed that it had approved a filing from Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company that said that the company would work to “support licensed mobile carriers” restoration of limited communications capability” on the island. “The purpose of the [Special Temporary Authority] is to support licensed mobile carriers’ restoration of limited communications capability in areas of Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria,” the license reads.
Tesla is also working on efforts to help Puerto Rico.
Hundreds of Tesla Powerwall battery systems are already in Puerto Rico and Tesla employees are in the country helping with installation and training for maintenance.
Tesla and Google are joining an effort to rebuild the island’s infrastructure that also includes Facebook, which committed to send its connectivity staff to the island to help in recovery and reconstruction.