Google Is Using Balloons to Restore Phone Service in Puerto Rico

A Joint Incident Site Communications Capability vehicle is unloaded from an Air Force Reserve Command’s 433rd Airlift Wing C-5M Super Galaxy at Ceiba Puerto Rico Oct. 1 2017. The C-5M flown by Reserve Citizen Airmen from Joint Base San Antoni

When it hit, it was almost a category 5 storm, and pummeled the island with gusts and rains for more than 30 hours.

Puerto Rico is still reeling in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which struck the island on September 20 and paralyzing winds, rain and storm surge.

According to Wired, Project Loon-which is described as "a network of balloons traveling on the edge of space, created to extend Internet connectivity to people in rural and remote areas worldwide"-would allow Puerto Rico residents to get voice and data service".

Separately, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello said in a Twitter posting late on Friday that he had a "great initial conversation with @elonmusk tonight".

More than 80% of Puerto Rico's cellular towers are still out of service more than two weeks after the arrival there of Hurricane Maria, and almost one-third of the island's counties have no service, according to the FCC. The X innovations team that runs Project Loon, which was spun out of Google, now needs to finalize a telecomms firm to partner with. It last deployed the balloons to provide emergency phone service in Peru after a flood displaced thousands of people in March. She added that "we've been making solid progress" on that next step. "That's why we need to take innovative approaches to help restore connectivity on the island".

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Scotland also went second in Group F, which could be significant once the final fixtures are played next Sunday. Slovenia won four matches, lost two matches and two matches ended in draw out of eight matches.

To help communications the FCC as authorized the use of Project Loon over the territory.

Loon was developed at X, Alphabet's innovation lab. Alphabet also is the parent of search engine Google.

But in its application to the FCC, Alphabet included letters and emails from eight wireless carriers in Puerto Rico, in which they consented for Loon to use their frequencies for disaster relief and to restore limited communications.

"This is a temporary fix while we work on laying and splicing miles of fiber, but it will help our customers stay connected with family and friends", he said.

-Jack Nicas contributed to this article.

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