Published: Fri, November 10, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Ellis Neal

People In Puerto Rico Receive Internet With Project Loon

People In Puerto Rico Receive Internet With Project Loon

This selfless initiative has already helped thousands, and Project Loon has an ultimate goal to supply basic internet to over 100,000 people in Puerto Rico. And initially, the team behind Project Loon wasn't sure how well the technology might work.

It's the first time the balloons have been launched at such a rapid pace.

It's been almost two months since Hurricane Maria ripped through Puerto Rico, and the island is still in the midst of a long road to recovery.

A project lead on Loon, Alastair Westgarth said, "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".

Project Loon also released a video of Pedro Emmanuelli, a "launch specialist" from Puerto Rico, explaining how the operation releases balloons from a launch site in Winnemucca, Nevada, that end up hovering above Puerto Rico. Project Loon sent balloons to flood-ravaged Peru in May.

AT&T and T-Mobile subscribers have been able to connect to the internet through the balloons, which are up 65,000 feet to create a network that can relay LTE signals to the telecommunications partners on the ground.

This is the second time that Project Loon has been used to connect people after a disaster.

Three weeks after the deployment of Project Loon, Alphabet's X Lab, which runs Project Loon, tweeted that more than 100,000 people have been able to connect to the internet thanks to the high-flying balloons.

The balloons travel approximately 12 miles (20km) above the Earth's surface in the stratosphere. The research and development project uses high altitude balloons which have solar-powered electronic devices.

The balloons harness power from card table-sized solar panels that dangle below them, and they can gather enough charge in four hours to power them for a day.

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