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.
Hurricane Maria demolished Puerto Rico's brittle electrical grid in one slash across the island. In doing so, it also took the broadband infrastructure with it. A fix could soon be high-altitude concepts for beaming internet to disaster-stricken areas from the sky, but innovations like that (such as Google's Project Loon) are still in their R&D phase, and not yet ready to be deployed. For the uninitiated, Project Loon involves balloons that sail through brisk winds at some 65,000 feet of altitude. Dangling from these balloons are receivers that are capable of streaming internet to and from phones on the ground below.