Project Loon-Powered Internet Reaches 100K in Puerto Rico

Loon’s first pilot test in New Zealand in 2013

Loon’s first pilot test in New Zealand in 2013

After a few weeks of service, Alphabet says the efforts have paid off. Project Loon's reps claim the balloons have been able to bring basic internet connectivity to more than 100,000 people in Puerto Rico.

'We've never deployed Project Loon connectivity from scratch at such a rapid pace, and we're grateful for the support of AT&T and the many other partners and organizations that have made this possible, ' Westgarth writes. In the wake of Hurricane Maria devastation, Project Loon procured an emergency licence from the FCC to send its balloons to Puerto Rica on the US Virgin Islands. This is the first time the tech was put to use.

Puerto Rico is still recovering from the damage dealt by Hurricane Maria, and Alphabet has provided the island a boost through Project Loon. This doesn't mean to say Project Loon has been a total success, as outlined below.

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In a blog post, Project Loon's head Alastair Westgarth said that the balloons carrying internet were able to provide "basic communication and internet activities like sending text messages and accessing information online for some people with LTE enabled phones". This internet service is a part of Alphabet Inc's Project Loon, where it is providing internet services to people with the help of helium balloons at disaster-hit locations.

AT&T and T-Mobile subscribers have been able to connect to the internet through the balloons, which are up 65,000 feet to create a network that can relay LTE signals to the telecommunications partners on the ground.

The balloons travel approximately 12 miles (20km) above the Earth's surface in the stratosphere. By moving with the wind, the balloons can be arranged to form one large communications network.

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The technology developed by Alphabet brings internet connectivity via balloons that hover above areas in need.

In addition to Project Loon, telecommunication providers have been working to fix damaged cellular sites and towers on the ground.

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