In what feels like a remarkable success for science Google’s parent company Alphabet will be deploying air balloons under their Project Loon in the sky above the flood hit Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands to restore cellular connectivity. The government has provided Alphabet with an experimental license hoping to regain the region’s connectivity via Project Loon.
The license was acquired by Alphabet’s division X which was formerly known as Google X, that builds balloon powered internet service. Project Loon’s air balloons once deployed in the air above the affected area will then be able to provide cellular connectivity to a radius of 40Kms. Alphabet’s balloon powered service runs on the 900Mhz spectrum which can effectively provide 4G LTE services. The people in the flood hit areas will be able to make and receive calls and their internet connectivity will also be restored if Alphabet’s Project Loon gets the license. The handsets will communicate with alphabet’s own service at the headquarters via the helium filled air balloons.
Alphabet’s Project Loon was started in 2013 with an attempt to bring balloon powered internet to the entire world. Project Loon has thus seen several improvements over the initial model. With improved technology Alphabet’s Project Loon will attempt to reconnect the city’s cellular service that was massively hit by the Hurricane Maria.
Chairman of the United States FCC Ajit Pai said that the millions of people in the region are still not able to access the much required Cellular services and with Alphabet’s Project Loon they want to provide some relief to the people of the flood hit region. 22 out of 78 counties in Puerto Rico have had a loss of 100% connectivity.
There is still no assurance that weather Alphabet will be able to deploy Project Loon in the region. Alphabet’s Project Loon has acquired just one of the many licenses needed to make the project happen. Alphabet maintains that they are thankful for the assistance from FCC and other authorities and are in conversation with other telecom companies to integrate their service in Project Loon’s air balloons.
Ajit Pai further encouraged the telecom companies to create an understanding with Alphabet’s Project Loon to integrate their services. He stressed that a lot of people in the flood hit areas are not able to get in touch with their families and cannot access life saving information from the web.