Google and Tesla have plans to help rebuild Puerto Rico

Image via ABC News

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". Earlier today, Alphabet's X division was granted permission by the FCC to provide emergency LTE coverage to the island.

The #ProjectLoon team at X is exploring if it's possible to bring emergency connectivity to Puerto Rico. Thousands of phone towers were destroyed in Puerto Rico due to the hurricane, and Google will fly 30 balloons over the island to restore phone communication. The balloons that were deployed in Peru, in fact, were launched from Puerto Rico. The FCC said yesterday that 83% of cell sites on the island are down, forcing carriers in the US territory to employ backup methods in an effort to get their networks running.

That's where Project Loon comes in. But in that case, Google had already partnered with a telecom provider on the ground, which it depended on to beam the signal to the balloons, for disaster relief.

Lexington, Massachusetts-based Vanu Inc., which sets up wireless communications networks in rural parts of the United States, Africa and India, is sending dozens of its small, solar-powered cellular base stations to volunteer crews on the ground in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, speaking to news media after a bipartisan Congressional visit to the island, said Brigadier General Jose Reyes, Assistant Adjutant General of the Puerto Rico National Guard, told Blumenthal that "there will be 17,000 military personnel", including 8,600 National Guard troops from 13 USA states. "We've been making solid progress on this next step and would like to thank everyone who's been lending a hand".

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