Thursday, 19 July, 2018

Alphabet Inc (GOOGL) To Soon Deploy Cell Baloons In Puerto Rico

Senior Master Sgt. Kevin Foerster a 68th Airlift Squadron loadmaster and Senior Airmen Antonio Farias a 433rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief climb a ladder to affix a United States flag to the ceiling of an Air Force Reserve Command C-5M Sup Alphabet Inc (GOOGL) To Soon Deploy Cell Baloons In Puerto Rico
Melissa Porter | 09 October, 2017, 02:18

According to the FCC, 83 percent of cell sites in Puerto Rico are out of service, 57 percent for the US Virgin Islands, and 100 percent for St. John.

Loon, part of a series of futuristic projects out of Alphabet's "X" laboratory, was originally created to provide internet coverage in under-developed rural areas.

In effort to help with the relief process after Hurricane Maria, Project Loon also obtained consent agreements to use land mobile radio (LMR) radio spectrum in 900 MHz band from existing carriers in Puerto Rico. These high-altitude balloons can provide services to remote regions with relative ease and can remain in operation for quite some time.

The FCC announced Saturday that it's approved an experimental license for Project Loon to operate in Puerto Rico. Project Loon is now run by X, a company within Google's parent holding company Alphabet. The Loon team has reportedly secured spectrum rights from wireless networks operating in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands good for at least six months. The FCC licence will allow X to fly balloons until April 4, 2018, though it remains unclear how much of the territories in question will be covered by the experiment. But with its aircraft still in the testing phase, the company said Friday that the engineers it's sent to Puerto Rico are focused on providing support to NetHope's teams.

Loon balloons, which carry communications equipment as high as 20 kilometers into the atmosphere, would circumvent those earthbound hurdles - at least temporarily.

"To deliver signal to people's devices, Loon needs be integrated with a telco partner's network - the balloons can't do it alone", she said, adding that the company is "making solid progress on this next step".

In Puerto Rico, Google's innovation lab, X, is starting from scratch. According to Mashable, the Peruvian project leader said the balloons sent 160 GB of data as they floated over an area about the size of Sweden, "enough data to send and receive around 30 million WhatsApp messages, or 2 million emails".