Large Internet-Beaming Balloons Might Be Headed To Puerto Rico

Posted October 08, 2017

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.

The FCC has given Google permission to deploy its Project Loon balloons over Puerto Rico.

With Puerto Rico still reeling from Hurricane Maria, the tech community continues to find ways to help.

The approval is part of the FCC's larger promise to form a hurricane recovery task force that's primarily focused on Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

"It is critical that we adopt a coordinated and comprehensive approach to support the rebuilding of communications infrastructure and restoration of communications services", Mr Pai said in statement.

Separately, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello said in a Twitter posting late on Friday that he had a "great initial conversation with @elonmusk tonight".

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Musk said he was diverting resources from a semi-truck project to fix Model 3 bottlenecks and "increase battery production for Puerto Rico & other affected areas".

Tesla is also dedicating its services to hurricane relief efforts: yesterday, Elon Musk said that he could rebuild Puerto Rico's power grid in the long-term using solar energy. As most of the smartphones are not capable of transcoding Band 8 LTE signals, the OEMs are necessarily required to push an OTA update for every smartphone in Puerto Rico.

Tesla is now working on "the world's biggest" lithium ion battery to help with power supply in South Australia.

The company had previously conducted connectivity tests in Australia, New Zealand and several South American countries. It partners with local telecommunications companies to transmit high-speed internet from high-altitude balloons.

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".