The FCC gave its approval to Alphabet’s Project Loon to deploy its LTE balloons in Puerto Rico. Google’s parent company then teamed up with AT&T to restore connectivity on the hurricane-ravaged island. T-Mobile is now joining forces with Project Loon in order to bring widespread connectivity back to Puerto Rico after the devastation is suffered at the hands of Hurricane Maria last month.
Alphabet initially deployed two Project Loon balloons, they float some 18,000 meters above Puerto Rico. The company has already said that it’s going to deploy additional balloons in the coming days to further improve the communications network.
The Project Loon team recently revealed that since the balloons were deployed over the island on October 20th, they have “delivered basic Internet connectivity to tens of thousands of people.”
The stratospheric balloons themselves don’t provide connectivity. They have to work with a service provider like AT&T and T-Mobile in order to make that happen. Bringing another service provider onboard is going to help expand the availability of basic cellular service to more residents on the island.
T-Mobile has joined the efforts to bring connectivity back to Puerto Rico with Project Loon. Its customers that have LTE-enabled smartphones in Puerto Rico will now be able to access basic internet and texting functionality.