Puerto Rico is in trouble. Approximately 3 million of its residents are still without electricity after the island was devastated by Hurricane Maria, and 30% lack access to drinkable water. Exacerbating the process of recovery is the fact that communication infrastructure in general, and the internet specifically, is experiencing trouble across the U.S. territory.
Google's parent Alphabet is set to beam internet to the remotest areas of the planet via high-altitude balloons. The firm has launched six balloons as part of its'Project Loon' that have managed to transfer data across a 620-mile (1,000km) area as part of a landmark test. A spokesperson from Loon, which is a subsidiary of Alphabet, said the stratospheric balloons rely on a single connection to the ground in Nevada. The test is Project Loon's latest as it heads towards its planned commercial launch of the service next year. Google's parent Alphabet is set to beam internet into the remotest areas of the planet as part of its'Project Loon' starting next year.
Google's parent Alphabet says its stratospheric balloons have now helped over 100,000 Puerto Ricans to connect to the internet. The firm is working with AT&T and T-Mobile to successfully deliver basic internet to remote areas of Puerto Rico where cellphone towers were knocked out by Hurricane Maria. Two of the search giant's'Project Loon' balloons are already over the country enabling texts, emails and basic web access. 'Project Loon' balloons are already over the country enabling texts, emails and basic web access to AT&T customers with handsets that use its 4G LTE network. Several more balloons are on their way from Nevada, and Google has been authorized by the Federal Communications Commission to send up to 30 balloons to serve the hard-hit area.Project Loon head Alastair Westgarth says in a blog post that the technology is still experimental, though it has been tested since last year in Peru following flooding there.
Google-created, internet-enabled balloons have been sent to the edge of space, in order to provide internet in Kenya. The technology aims to allow people who are either underserved or entirely unserved by current internet infrastructure to be able to get online, by sending out connections over a span of 31,000 square miles. There will eventually be 35 of the solar-powered balloons hovering over Africa, with solar power allowing them to hover in the air like floating cellphone towers. The technology is run by Loon, which is owned by Google's parent company, Alphabet. It began as one of Google's many "moonshots", with initial versions created out of beer coolers and WiFi routers.