Among Alphabet's (Google's parent company) ambitious projects was the Project Loon that hopes to take Internet connectivity to remote places that the infrastructure to do so. Now, according to a Techcrunch report, it has got FCC approval to bring LTE connectivity using its Project Loon balloons in hurricane hit areas of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Hurricane Maria and Irma had led to these regions losing access to basic amenities, and over 80 percent were stranded without network reception that could have helped them to reach out for help.
As it’s been two weeks since hurricane struck, there is now need to take some innovative steps, FCC Chairman said. However, it cannot be done without a telco partner.
Here's another tweet:
BREAKING: FCC issues experimental license to Google to provide emergency cellular service in Puerto Rico through Project Loon balloons.— Matthew Berry (@matthewberryfcc) October 6, 2017
The Project loon comes under Google's X projects and is a network of high-flying balloons that can rise above 60,000 feet. They transmit signals directly to LTE-enabled devices. They are designed and manufactured at scale to survive the conditions in the stratosphere, where winds can blow over 100 km/hr and the thin atmosphere offers little protection from UV radiation and dramatic temperature swings which can reach as low as -90°C. Made from sheets of polyethylene, each tennis court sized balloon is built to last more than 100 days in the stratosphere before returning to the ground in a controlled descent.