Project Loon gets federal clearance to provide cell service to Puerto Rico


Project Loon gets federal clearance to provide cell service to Puerto Rico
  1. Project Loon gets federal clearance to provide cell service to Puerto Rico
    money.cnn.com
    The Google-born Project Loon could help provide connectivity to the storm-ravaged…
    Money
Puerto Rico Governor: Focused on getting resources Puerto Rico Governor: Focused on getting resources

The Federal Communications Commission has issued an "experimental license" to X, the moonshot outfit owned by Google's parent company, Alphabet (GOOG), to try and provide service to the ailing island.

The project -- called Loon -- could help restore some communications capabilities after Hurricane Maria wiped out Puerto Rico's infrastructure.

More than two weeks after the storm, about 82% of the island is still without cell service, the FCC said Saturday.

"We need to take innovative approaches to help restore connectivity on the island. Project Loon is one such approach," Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement. "It could help provide the people of Puerto Rico with access to cellular service to connect with loved ones and access life-saving information."

Related: Project Loon helps bring the internet to flooded Peru

The project, however, is not without its challenges.

Loon works like floating cell towers. Giant balloons are sent about 12 miles up into the Earth's atmosphere. From there, they must work with an on-the-ground telecommunications system. For that to happen, X needs to partner with a telecom company that can provide that connectivity.

The system has been proven to work. Earlier this year, X said balloon over Peru were able to provide key coverage as the country was plagued by floods.

But the reason Loon was…

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