November 10, 2017
Alphabet’s Project Loon is officially a success. The project was set up to provide LTE connection to the disaster-stricken Puerto Rico with helium balloons. In the latest report, the company has announced that the project has delivered internet to 100,000 residents on the island.
After Hurricane Maria hit the island country, a significant portion of Puerto Rico was struggling without cell tower reception. According to the Federal Communications Commission in Puerto Rico, about 44 percent of the cell towers are still out of service. That was where Project Loon stepped in and deployed balloons to increase connectivity among the residents.
“In times of crisis, being able to communicate with loved ones, emergency services, and critical information is key,” said Alastair Westgarth, project lead on Loon. “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,” Westgarth added.
Although 100,000 is a significant number, there are still many residents who are stranded without any sort of connectivity. However, considering the high-level of communications infrastructure damage that Puerto Rico has undergone, the number is a milestone in itself.