Big Tech has big plans to help reconnect Puerto Rico

Katrina Barker
October 8, 2017

It aims to temporarily re-establish Puerto Rico's cellular network - where 83 percent of cell sites were still out of service Friday, according to FCC figures.

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.

The Carribean country Puerto Rico has been caught with a deadly hurricane named Maria last day, of 150 miles per hour. They were among several tech companies proposing disaster response ideas, most aimed at getting phone and internet service up and running.

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.

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".

Last Thursday, the Project Loon team at Alphabet's X division noted to Mashable that they were "working hard with the Puerto Rican authorities to see if there's a way for us to use Loon balloons to bring some emergency connectivity to the island during this time of need".

Project Loon is the name for Alphabet's (Google's parent company) ambitious project that provides cellular data capabilities from above. "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. As most of the smartphones are not capable of transcoding Band 8 LTE signals, the OEMs are necessarily required to push an OTA update for every smartphone in Puerto Rico. Now around 10 percent of residents on the island have power.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER