Large Internet-Beaming Balloons Might Be Headed To Puerto Rico

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As of Friday, 83 percent of cell sites were still out of service.

Google is stepping into the crisis in Puerto Rico to help out with some cutting edge technology that will provide emergency phone reception.

Tesla had previously said, in late September, that it was sending to Puerto Rico hundreds of batteries that can rely on solar panels to store power which provides emergency aid in the wake of Hurricane Maria. They were among several tech companies proposing disaster response ideas, most aimed at getting phone and internet service up and running.

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".

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It's unclear if X has found a telecomm company to partner with in the US territory.

Freelance journalist Mark Harris spotted that Project Loon was granted permission earlier today by the FCC to provide the coverage to Puerto Rico.

"We're grateful for the support of the FCC and the Puerto Rican authorities as we work hard to see if it's possible to use Loon balloons to bring emergency connectivity to the island during this time of need", said Libby Leahy, a spokesman for Alphabet's X division. "To deliver signal to people's devices, Loon needs be integrated with a telco partner's network - the balloons can't do it alone", the spokesperson explains. In a filing with the FCC, Google wrote that it wanted approval to use the balloons to "support licensed mobile carriers' restoration of limited communications capability" in Puerto Rico. It appears to be a ideal fit for helping Puerto Rico get back online. It's unclear to what extent Loon will cover Puerto Rico or parts of the Virgin Islands, or how many balloons the team plans to deploy. Now around 10 percent of residents on the island have power.

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