Published: Wed, October 11, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Sioux Falls balloons deliver cell service to Puerto Rico

Sioux Falls balloons deliver cell service to Puerto Rico

Project Loon is an Alphabet "moonshot" concept that's been running since 2013.

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.

Freelance journalist Mark Harris spotted that Project Loon was granted permission earlier today by the FCC to provide the coverage to Puerto Rico.

As Puerto Rico and its people continue to reel from the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria, two of the world's biggest tech companies have outlined plans for bringing power back to the Caribbean island and USA territory.

"That's why we need to take innovative approaches to help restore connectivity on the island", he added, urging wireless carriers to "cooperate with Project Loon to maximize this effort's chances of success". The required 900 MHz consent agreements are already in place in the Project Loon license, according to the FCC.

That's why the FCC has granted an emergency license to Google parent company Alphabet to deploy 30 balloons over the island, with the intention of providing basic internet service while the conventional cell network is brought back online.

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"Overall, 81.7 percent (virtually no change from 81.9 percent yesterday) of cell sites are out of service". In a report issued yesterday, the FCC revealed that 83 percent of cell towers on the island are still down, with the US Virgin Islands in a similar state.

The situation in Puerto Rico appears more hard for Google.

In 2016, a test site was set up in Puerto Rico to launch what the project called "a handful of test balloons".

The announcement comes after electric carmaker Tesla said it could help restore electricity to Puerto Rico using solar panels and batteries.

Loon is meant to provide LTE communications between stations on the ground by linking them to high-altitude balloons equipped with airborne repeaters. The balloons are positioned in wind layers based on NOAA data and float above target areas.

"In response to the recent flooding in Peru, Project Loon has been working together with Telefonica and the Peruvian Government to deliver basic internet connectivity to tens of thousands of people in affected areas around Lima, Chimbote, and Piura", Project Loon said in May. "In total, the balloon managed to spend 14 weeks in Peruvian airspace, which required making almost 20,000 separate altitude adjustments during its flight".

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