Google Loon internet balloons help restore coverage to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico

Google Project Loon

One of Google's Project Loon balloons floating from Nevada to Puerto Rico. Credit Google

In a blog post published by Project Loon head Alastair Westgarth, the company says that it's working with the Federal Communications Commission, FEMA, Federal Aviation Authority, and other cellular spectrum and aviation authorities to bring connectivity to parts of Puerto Rico that are still struggling post Hurricane Maria. The firm claimed last week that it does not anticipate to utilize that many as each balloon might offer Internet service to a region of nearly 1,930 Square Miles or 5,000 Square Kilometers.

The solar-powered balloons rely on an algorithm for navigation, which takes into consideration wind currents to help them remain in position.

Google's parent company and AT&T recently began restoring wireless connections and internet access in areas of Puerto Rico with the help of the former's innovative balloon project. The experimental service only provides an internet signal during the day.

In the weeks following Hurricane Maria, Project Loon has been working with the Puerto Rica Government, worldwide aviation authorities plus others to deliver emergency internet service to the worst hit areas.

While Project Loon team has launched their balloons, their carrier partner will be AT&T. "As we get more recognizable with the continually moving winds in this areas, we anticipate to keep the balloons above regions where connectivity is required for as long as possible".

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Watch this video to see how Project Loon works.

Earlier this year, Alphabet sent its balloons to Peru following serious floods.

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.

iPhone users on the island that can connect to the internet using existing cell towers or Wi-Fi will be prompted to download new carrier settings to access Band 8.

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