Finance

Google Is Using Balloons to Restore Phone Service in Puerto Rico

Google Is Using Balloons to Restore Phone Service in Puerto Rico

In a report issued yesterday (PDF), the FCC said 83 percent of cell sites in Puerto Rico are still out of service, along with 57 percent in the US Virgin Islands and 100 percent in St. John.

Though the Loon technology is not entirely proven, it could help speed the restoration of vital communications as the USA territory works to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Maria.

The US Federal Communications Commission announced its decision on Friday evening, one of a number of ways in which tech companies are helping rebuild services.

As Wired points out, Alphabet used the balloons to provide phone service in Peru after flooding ravaged the country, but Puerto Rico might be a little tougher.

Earlier on Friday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced he was forming a Hurricane Recovery Task Force with an emphasis on addressing challenges facing Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Alphabet has confirmed it plans to use solar-powered, high-altitude balloons to support the restoration of "limited communications capability" in the U.S. unincorporated territory. "Next steps soon to follow".

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". Google parent company Alphabet offered to send its Wi-Fi balloons.

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.

In Puerto Rico, Google's innovation lab, X, is starting from scratch.

Alphabet launched Project Loon in 2013 in an effort to provide service to people in rural and remote areas, help fill coverage gaps and bring them back online after disasters.


  • Egypt hails 'opportunity' for Palestinian unity

    Egypt hails 'opportunity' for Palestinian unity

    Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah vowed Wednesday to boost economic growth in Gaza Strip, in a meeting with dozens of businessmen from Gaza.
    Paul Pogba Is Long Term - Jose Mourinho On Man Utd's Star's Absence

    Paul Pogba Is Long Term - Jose Mourinho On Man Utd's Star's Absence

    Paul Scholes believes Manchester United signing Nemanja Matic has helped to bring the best out of Paul Pogba this season. Mourinho has added Pogba to United's "long term" injury list.
    Leading Saudi women's activist vows to return and drive

    Leading Saudi women's activist vows to return and drive

    The country's global competitiveness may only rise as it raises the innovative capacity of its people, especially its women. Women make up only about 20 percent of Saudi workers, one of the lowest proportions in the world.
  • Harvest Moon 2017: When and how to see October's full moon

    Harvest Moon 2017: When and how to see October's full moon

    EarthSky points out that the September 6 full moon happened too early to be the "official" Harvest Moon. The last time a harvest moon occurred in October was in 2009, and the next one is due in three years.
    What's Next For OJ After Release From Prison

    What's Next For OJ After Release From Prison

    Simpson is still obligated to pay the judgment, which now amounts to about $65 million, said David Cook, a Goldman family lawyer. He says he only wanted to retrieve personal items, mementoes and family photos from two sports memorabilia dealers.
    Over 122000 people flee Bali volcano on eruption alert

    Over 122000 people flee Bali volcano on eruption alert

    The volcano has been showing increasing activity in the past two weeks after half a century of dormancy. He says more than 560 volcanic earthquakes were recorded on Monday, a lot of them shallow.
  • Tamim sidelined for second Test against South Africa

    Tamim sidelined for second Test against South Africa

    It was more like our type of wicket in the previous game but we couldn't execute well. If you go and play around the world, Test cricket is followed quite well.
    Senior Liberals in spat over gay rights song at NRL final

    Senior Liberals in spat over gay rights song at NRL final

    They claim it politicizes sport and they want to "remove LGBTIQ politics out of the awesome sport of Rugby League". However, the NRL has reiterated its support for same-sex marriage and said the performance will go ahead.
    Mount Agung continues to rumble as evacuations ramp up

    Mount Agung continues to rumble as evacuations ramp up

    Indonesia has almost 130 active volcanoes along the Pacific Ring of Fire - more than any other country in the world. The volcano is now on the highest alert level and an exclusion zone of nine kilometers as been set from the crater.
  • Former football player OJ Simpson released from prison

    Former football player OJ Simpson released from prison

    Simpson was startled Sunday as a photographer approached him at a Nevada gas station not long after his release from prison . Pete, relaxing with his family and even playing golf. "He's really looking forward to the simple pleasures", LaVergne said.
    Saudi Arabia Is Going to Let Women Drive Now

    Saudi Arabia Is Going to Let Women Drive Now

    Many Saudi women rely on ride-sharing apps like Uber and Careem to take relish some freedom of movement. In recent years, a number of female Saudi activists have been arrested for defying the restriction .
    MA  gas prices on the decline

    MA gas prices on the decline

    Drivers in SC (39 cents), Alabama (37 cents), Florida (36 cents), MS (32 cents) and Texas (31 cents) are also paying more. Gasoline prices are slowly but steadily falling after they previously skyrocketed in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey .