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.
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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