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United States to boost military personnel in Puerto Rico: senator

08 October 2017, 12:51 | Rose Hansen

Google gets go-ahead to restore cell phone service in Puerto Rico with its balloons

Volunteers loading relief supplies into a U Haul to be flown down to Puerto Rico and Mexico on Jay Z's Tidal plane on Oct. 6 2017

"FCC issues experimental license to Google to provide emergency cellular service in Puerto Rico through Project Loon balloons", Matthew Berry, the authority's chief of staff, announced on Twitter.

The Federal Communications Commission yesterday granted Alphabet-owned Project Loon an experimental license to operate in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands for the goal of helping the islands regain connectivity. After Hurricane Maria made landfall and devastated the area, the electric grid and wireless communications are still mostly out of service.

But that could change now that Google has the go-ahead to launch 30 balloons over Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Wired reports, for as long as half a year. "It is critical that we adopt a coordinated and comprehensive approach to support the rebuilding of communications infrastructure", said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in a statement.

Alphabet Inc has just been given permission to float 30 balloons over USA territory Puerto Rico, providing them with much needed mobile reception and internet.

Last week, the Project Loon team revealed that it was exploring the possibility of deploying balloons to provide "emergency connectivity" to Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

On Friday, 83 percent of the island's cell sites were out of service, according to the FCC - down only slightly from 84.6 percent the day before.

Project Loon - the balloon delivered internet project that started life as part of Google and now calls Alphabet's X "innovation lab" home - has moved one step closer to becoming a part of the relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

When the balloons are floating in the air above the correct spot, ground stations send signals up to the balloon and the balloon sends signal down to the ground so people with a mobile phone can connect to the internet.

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