Google to use balloons to provide Puerto Rico mobile phone service

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Now, Google's parent company has just passed the FCC for being an emergency communication network to the country for the emergency goal.

The project, which is run by research firm X, has provided back-up internet services after natural disasters before.

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk often takes to Twitter to mull over ideas, but on Friday his musings about sending his company's solar-powered batteries to help restore Puerto Rico's power attracted the attention of the island's governor.

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

First up Google has just nabbed a temporary license for it to provide an emergency cell network across Puerto Rico using its Project Loon technology - that's where giant, floating balloons are used to get connectivity out to remote areas that lack the usual internet and cell tower infrastructure.

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The FCC's daily status report also shows significant wireline, TV and radio outages remain in both US territories.

That's where Project Loon comes in.

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.

But there are limitations, she said Saturday. Loon needs be integrated with a telco partner's network-the balloons can't do it alone.

The helium balloons are expected to deliver emergency LTE cellular reception to allow residents and local governments to contact friends and family, coordinate relief and restoration efforts, and reestablish communication with the outside world.

Alphabet has confirmed it plans to use solar-powered, high-altitude balloons to support the restoration of "limited communications capability" in the United States unincorporated territory. In Puerto Rico, things are still in the planning stages.