Google has gotten permission from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to deploy its Project Loon balloons over Puerto Rico.
Previously, Google had partnered with a telecom provider in Peru to beam signals to the balloons, and the helium balloons were able to provide LTE coverage to Peru after extreme flooding.
Project Loon works by sending a signal beamed from a telecom partner on the ground through the balloons which are about 65,000 feet in the air, and down to earth to people with cellphones.
However, it is unclear if Puerto Rico’s stressed telecom companies even have what it takes to partner with Google on this endeavour. Google’s Innovation Lab, X, is starting from scratch here.
It is of note that only a low percentage of Puerto Rico’s cellphone towers are back online after being demolished by Hurricane Maria. But Google’s endeavour is worth a try.
The FCC made the announcement in a tweet by Matthew Berry, Chief of Staff to the Agency’s Chairman.