Google Is Using Balloons to Restore Phone Service in Puerto Rico

Locals collecting 'A little touch of heaven' for Hurricane Maria victims in Puerto Rico

Locals collecting 'A little touch of heaven' for Hurricane Maria victims in Puerto Rico

Last Thursday, the Project Loon team at Alphabet's X division noted to Mashable that they were "working hard with the Puerto Rican authorities to see if there's a way for us to use Loon balloons to bring some emergency connectivity to the island during this time of need".

Weeks ago Tesla sent hundreds of batteries that store power made by solar panels to the islands, and they are now making more for Puerto Rico. The license extends from October 6th until April 4th, 2018, and it was granted to Ben Wojtowicz, a software engineer and member of Alphabet's X lab who works on Project Loon.

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.

Musk agreed. Hours later, he announced he was delaying the unveiling of Tesla's new semi-truck and diverting resources, in part to "increase battery production for Puerto Rico and other affected areas".

Читайте также: TransCanada Ends Two Pipeline Projects, Citing 'Changed Circumstances'

Just last week, the Loon team said it was looking into helping Puerto Rico, still devastated by Hurricane Maria, regain connectivity.

Tesla is also dedicating its services to hurricane relief efforts: yesterday, Elon Musk said that he could rebuild Puerto Rico's power grid in the long-term using solar energy. The Federal Communications Commission said Saturday that 82 percent of cell sites remain out in Puerto Rico; 58 percent are out of service in the U.S. Virgin Islands. As most of the smartphones are not capable of transcoding Band 8 LTE signals, the OEMs are necessarily required to push an OTA update for every smartphone in Puerto Rico. It had partnered with a telecomm company and was testing balloons.

Much of the ground work is being spearheaded by nonprofit organizations and small firms with expertise in rural or emergency communications. Now around 10 percent of residents on the island have power. "You don't have to announce you've lit up coverage".

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