Google balloons to help restore Puerto Rico's cell networks

Google balloons to help restore Puerto Rico's cell networks

Google balloons to help restore Puerto Rico's cell networks

Project Loon sends balloons intro the stratosphere - twice as high as commercial airliners - where they are self-powered by solar panels.

Most of the recovery news has rightly focused on the hard journey to get Puerto Rico's power grid back online.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk often takes to Twitter to mull over ideas, but on Friday his musings about sending his company's solar-powered batteries to help restore Puerto Rico's power attracted the attention of the island's governor.

The US Federal Communications Commission said late on Friday it had approved Alphabet Inc's application to provide emergency cellular service to Puerto Rico through balloons. It's a cell tower.

Alphabet will use 30 Loon balloons to float more than 12 miles above the ground that will help connect the island's wireless networks to users' phones.

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Musk said he was diverting resources from a semi-truck project to fix Model 3 bottlenecks and "increase battery production for Puerto Rico & other affected areas".

Project Loon works by having telecommunication partners beam up service to a balloon, which in turn gets relayed across a network of balloons and then directly to LTE devices on the ground. "The Hurricane Recovery Task Force will allow us to do just that", Pai also said.

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 U.S. territory.

Google isn't the only tech giant extending a helping hand to Puerto Rico.

After setting up a network on the island of Vieques, off the main island of Puerto Rico, one team watched from a roof as local residents started getting text alerts from family members who had been trying to get in touch.

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