Alphabet's Project Loon officially launched in Puerto Rico

Alphabet's Project Loon officially launched in Puerto Rico

Alphabet's Project Loon officially launched in Puerto Rico

Alphabet is partnering up with AT&T and other authorities to bring internet access and cellular connectivity to Puerto Rico, which was hit by Hurricane Maria.

"As we get more familiar with the constantly shifting winds in this region, we hope to keep the balloons over areas where connectivity is needed for as long as possible".

The company said that the "Project Loon team has been working with the Government of Puerto Rico, the FCC, the FAA, FEMA, spectrum partners and worldwide aviation authorities to bring balloon-powered internet to the island" in the weeks following the disaster.

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Experimental communications balloons provided by Alphabet in collaboration with AT&T will allow some of the carrier's customers in storm-ravaged Puerto Rico to send texts and access critical information on the internet, Alphabet said on Friday.

According to Alphabet, it's teaming up with the Government of Puerto Rico, the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Aviation Authority, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and other cellular spectrum partners and worldwide aviation authorities to make this possible.

For the record, Alphabet launched the balloons from its Nevada launch site to Puerto Rico with the help of aviation authorities and air traffic controllers under the Puerto Rican government.

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Two weeks after Hurricane Irma slammed into the Caribbean islands, a second super-storm - Maria - devastated the USA territory on September 20, leaving the population of 3.4 million people without electricity or cellphone reception.

"The search giant announced some balloons from its "Project Loon" programme had been deployed over Puerto Rico, in an effort to provide people with limited internet access", CNET reported. Westgarth explains that this was the first time the team had ever deployed its Project Loon connectivity "from scratch" at such a fast rate, a process made possible in part by help from AT&T and other entities. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has said that 83 percent of the cell sites in the Spanish country and several US Virgin Islands were disrupted by hurricanes Mari and Irma. Google's parent Alphabet Inc. announced that its stratospheric balloons are now delivering the internet to remote areas of Puerto Rico where cellphone towers were knocked out by Hurricane Maria. Alphabet's Project Loon received an experimental license to provide emergency service. More than that, SES Networks and Liberty Cablevision also lent a helping hand to establish the necessary infrastructure on the ground to give the balloons internet connectivity.

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