In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico has struggled to regain communications services. Google’s application to provide emergency cell phone services to Puerto Rico using Google Loon – balloons has been approved by regulators.
The decision was announced on Friday evening by the US Federal Communications Commission said it is one of a number of ways in which tech companies are helping rebuild services.
The situation on the communication front still remains patchy on the island. With nearly 83% of all cell sites remain out of service and temporary wireless sites are being rolled out to overcome the situation.
Alphabet, Google’s parent company announced to implement Project Loon, which uses solar-powered high altitude balloons to provide internet services in remote regions, said in an FCC filing it was working to “support licensed mobile carriers’ restoration of limited communications capability” in Puerto Rico.
Earlier on Friday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced he was forming a Hurricane Recovery Task Force with an emphasis on addressing challenges facing Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
He further said – “It is critical that we adopt a coordinated and comprehensive approach to support the rebuilding of communications infrastructure and restoration of communications services.”
In another instance, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello said in a Twitter posting late on Friday that he had a “great initial conversation with @elonmusk tonight. Teams are now talking; exploring opportunities. Next steps soon to follow.”
Mr. Musk, the chief executive of Tesla, tweeted on Friday the company would send more battery installers to Puerto Rico to help restore power after Hurricane Maria knocked out all power on the island over two weeks ago.
Tesla Semi unveil now Nov 16. Diverting resources to fix Model 3 bottlenecks & increase battery production for Puerto Rico & other affected areas.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 6, 2017
Earlier in September, Tesla said it was sending hundreds of batteries that can store power generated by solar panels to Puerto Rico to provide emergency help in the wake of Hurricane Maria.