Google to fly Balloons over Puerto Rico to restore Mobile Service
Google will attempt to use solar-powered internet-transmitting balloons to provide emergency phone reception to Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
The tech giant plans to fly 30 balloons over the island as part of its Project Loon after thousands of phone towers were destroyed in the storm.
According to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 83% of phone towers are out of service, with communications companies scrambling to install temporary masts.
Millions of Puerto Ricans are still living in the dark after 140mph winds and torrential rain annihilated 80 per cent of the island’s electricity. Two weeks on, just nine per cent of residents have power, according to the latest updates.
Google is not the only tech giant to offer aid to the island. Tesla has also announced it would send more battery installers to help the relief efforts.
The balloons, that travel on the edge of space, were designed to extend Internet connectivity to people in rural and remote areas worldwide but they have also been deployed for disaster relief efforts.
Google provided emergency phone service as part of Project Loon in Peru earlier in the year following widespread flooding.