Google to Provide Emergency Cell Service to Puerto Rico Via Balloons

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The FCC said yesterday that 83% of cell sites on the island are down, forcing carriers in the USA territory to employ backup methods in an effort to get their networks running.

Google is stepping into the crisis in Puerto Rico to help out with some cutting edge technology that will provide emergency phone reception.

In late September, Tesla said it was sending hundreds of batteries that can store power generated by solar panels to Puerto Rico to provide emergency help in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

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

"More than two weeks after Hurricane Maria struck, millions of Puerto Ricans are still without access to much-needed communications services", FCC chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement.

Project Loon is the name for Alphabet's (Google's parent company) ambitious project that provides cellular data capabilities from above.

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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".

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

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. 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. It had partnered with a telecomm company and was testing balloons. Pai said that this includes the "the rebuilding of communications infrastructure and restoration of communications services". Now around 10 percent of residents on the island have power. In Puerto Rico, things are still in the planning stages.

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