Alphabet, the parent company of Google, has received approval to deploy its Project Loon LTE balloons in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Project Loon was a former Google X Lab project which was developed to provide mobile data access to disaster zones and remote areas by using high-altitude weather balloons. The project is now under the domain of Alphabet.
The Federal Communications Commission has issued an “emergency license” for the Project Loon balloons to be deployed in Puerto Rico.
The FCC estimates that 83 percent of the island’s cellular sites are still down ever since Hurricane Maria caused remarkable damage to Puerto Rico. The high-altitude weather balloons that Alphabet will deploy are also going to help restore service in the U.S. Virgin Islands that got hit by the hurricane as well.
In order to deliver signals to people’s devices, Loon has to be integrated with a telco partner’s network. The balloons aren’t capable of doing that by themselves.
“We’ve been making solid progress on this next step and would like to thank everyone who’s been lending a hand,” said a spokesperson, adding that “We’re grateful for the support of the FCC and the Puerto Rican authorities as we work hard to see if it’s possible to use Loon balloons to bring emergency connectivity to the island during this time of need.”
Filed in Project Loon.. Read more about