Google to Provide Puerto Rico With Cell Service Using Balloons

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It aims to temporarily re-establish Puerto Rico's cellular network - where 83 per cent of cell sites were still out of service on Friday (Oct 6), according to FCC figures.

The FCC license comes as Puerto Rico struggles to recover from the devastating affects of Hurricane Maria.

"Let's talk", said Gov. Ricardo Rossello in a Friday tweet.

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".

Loon is one of Google's original "moonshot efforts created to bring connectivity to remote areas of the world and locales struggling in the aftermath of natural disaster".

With Puerto Rico still reeling from Hurricane Maria, the tech community continues to find ways to help.

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No output figures are available, but the automaker claims the system "always provides crisp and nimble handling". The system allows the driver to voice-control functions such as climate control, wipers, headlights and more.

The FCC announced Saturday that it's approved an experimental license for Project Loon to operate in Puerto Rico.

Project Loon works by having telecommunication partners beam up service to a balloon, which in turn gets relayed across a network of balloons and then directly to LTE devices on the ground. Pai said that this includes the "the rebuilding of communications infrastructure and restoration of communications services".

"Communication is critical during a disaster", Zuckerberg said after the hurricane hit, announcing that employees from his company's connectivity team - the same group working to build high-altitude drones that can beam internet service down to Earth - were heading to Puerto Rico.

"We need to take innovative approaches to help restore connectivity on the island", FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement.

Much of the ground work is being spearheaded by nonprofit organizations and small firms with expertise in rural or emergency communications.

In 2016, a test site was set up in Puerto Rico to launch what the project called "a handful of test balloons".