Thursday, 15 November, 2018

FEMA site removes stats about water, power in Puerto Rico

Alphabet said it was working to “support licensed mobile carriers’ restoration of limited communications capability” in Puerto Rico. Mike Blake  Reuters FEMA site removes stats about water, power in Puerto Rico
Melinda Barton | 09 October, 2017, 18:05

"We got a lot of help from the local community around here", said parent Adeline Henriquez.

Cell service has mostly been down since Hurricane Maria hit the island. According to the FCC, as of yesterday 83% of the cellular service was out of service. Scientology Volunteer Ministers International headquarters has put out a call for hundreds of VMs to provide relief in Puerto Rico.

More than 80% of Puerto Rico's cellular towers are still out of service more than two weeks after the arrival there of Hurricane Maria, and almost one-third of the island's counties have no service, according to the FCC.

"If there is a power failure at a hospital, which we've seen two over this past week, we're actually life-flighting the ICU patients out of those hospitals and onto the USNS Comfort", a Navy hospital ship now supporting the island, Long said.

She says it was just a few weeks ago her family was stranded in Puerto Rico during Hurricane Maria.

For these reasons, the FCC has just granted permission for Alphabet to use their Project Loon balloons again to provide cellular and LTE connections across the country.

Despite the advanced technology on the balloons, the internet still needs to come from somewhere though. "It's not about us, it's about the people of Puerto Rico and getting them back on their feet as quickly as we can".

The Hurricane Maria blew away nearly all the physical telephone poles in its path; it's a huge task to reconstruct them in a very short time frame and here comes the Google Project Loon to the rescue.

Earlier this year, Project Loon was deployed to Peru after a series of devastating floods.

"'Loon' needs to be integrated with a telco partner's network, the balloons cannot do it alone", an Alphabet spokesperson was quoted as saying. Tests have shown that the network can transmit between balloons that are over 100 km (62 miles) apart and down to users on the ground at speeds of 10 Mbps. "The bottom line is, is that we are making progress everyday in conjunction with the governor".