Published: Sun, October 08, 2017
Markets | By Rosalie Gross

Project Loon cleared to help restore wireless in Puerto Rico

Project Loon cleared to help restore wireless in Puerto Rico

Mr 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. The Federal Communications Commission said Friday that 83 percent of cell sites remain out in Puerto Rico; 57 percent remain out in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The tech company began sending battery installers to the island in late September, and announced it would be sending more as only nine percent of residents are reported to have power.

USA authorities have approved Alphabet Inc's application to use its experimental Project Loon balloons to provide emergency mobile phone service to disaster-stricken Puerto Rico, as Tesla said it would send more battery supplies.

Cell service has mostly been down since Hurricane Maria hit the island.

Loon is one of Google's original "moonshot efforts created to bring connectivity to remote areas of the world and locales struggling in the aftermath of natural disaster".

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The FCC announced Saturday that it's approved an experimental license for Project Loon to operate in Puerto Rico.

In a statement given to Engadget, a spokesperson for Alphabet's X lab said the team needs to work with a partner network of a local telecom, like Telefonica, to make it all work.

Most of the recovery news has rightly focused on the hard journey to get Puerto Rico's power grid back online.

Much of the ground work is being spearheaded by nonprofit organizations and small firms with expertise in rural or emergency communications. It's unclear to what extent Loon will cover Puerto Rico or parts of the Virgin Islands, or how many balloons the team plans to deploy. "People know right away".

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