Alphabet’s Project Loon delivers internet service to 100,000 people in Puerto Rico

Sunday, 12 November 2017, 12:45:54 AM. The island is still suffering from poor connectivity
Alphabet’s Project Loon, which last month partnered with AT&T and T-Mobile to bring LTE connectivity to disaster-stricken Puerto Rico, says its helium air balloons have delivered internet to 100,000 residents on the island. A significant portion of Puerto Rico, still struggling to recover from the effects of Hurricane Maria, is still without cell tower reception, with the Federal Communications Commission reporting earlier today that nearly 44 percent of Puerto Rico cell sites are still out of service. Loon deployed balloons in late October in what was its fastest-ever deployment in an effort to help residents get back online as soon as possible. “In times of crisis, being able to communicate with loved ones, emergency services and critical information is key. We hope that the connectivity Project Loon has provided over the last few weeks has been helpful, and would like to thank AT&T, T-Mobile, and our government partners who made these efforts possible,” Alastair Westgarth, a project lead on Loon, said in a statement. While 100,000 is an impressive metric on its own, Puerto Rico is an island of nearly 3.5 million people. A map released today by the FCC shows that a vast majority of the island’s counties still have between 20 and 60 percent of cell towers out of service. Only four counties are reporting only 1 to 20 percent of cell sites out of service, while another four counties have more than 80 percent of their cell sites down. So while Loon is certainly helping Puerto...Read more
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