Project Loon Could Bring Connectivity to Puerto Rico
In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, 80 percent of the cell towers in Puerto Rico are still offline, leaving tens of thousands of people without Web connectivity or phone service. But Project Loon could soon change that.
Conceived at Google and now part of Alphabet's X division, Project Loon uses balloons to provide wireless service to people in remote or underserved areas. Loon balloons have previously offered Web and cell connectivity to people in Peru, and now the FCC has approved short-term use of the balloons in Puerto Rico.
"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," an X spokesperson said in a statement. "To deliver signal to people's devices, Loon needs be integrated with a telco partner's network — the balloons can't do it alone. We've been making solid progress on this next step and would like to thank everyone who's been lending a hand."