Puerto Rico to get hurricane support from Mission Loon balloons

That is not a balloon. It is a cell tower.


It appears like Mission Loon can be sending balloons to Puerto Rico to assist the hurricane-ravaged island re-establish cellphone service.

In two tweets Friday, Matthew Berry, chief of employees of the US Federal Communications Fee, mentioned the FCC had accepted the Loon utility to offer emergency mobile service to the island.

Mission Loon, from Google guardian firm Alphabet, makes use of high-altitude solar-powered balloons to offer telephones with a wi-fi community connection. Consider the balloons as floating cell towers. Alphabet expects to ultimately commercialize the enterprise. Earlier this yr, the Loon crew partnered with cell service Telefonica to assist enhance web entry in Peru after flooding in that nation.

As of Thursday, 84.6 p.c of cell websites on Puerto Rico have been nonetheless not functioning, in line with the FCC.

“Greater than two weeks after Hurricane Maria struck, tens of millions of Puerto Ricans are nonetheless with out entry to much-needed communications providers,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai mentioned in a press release Saturday (PDF). “That is why we have to take progressive approaches to assist restore connectivity on the island. Mission Loon is one such strategy. It may assist present the individuals of Puerto Rico with entry to mobile service to attach with family members and entry life-saving info.”

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