Project Loon is an initiative of Alphabet’s X lab which delivers internet using hot air balloons. Now it is looking into deploying Wi-Fi balloons that would aid in alleviating the crisis in Puerto Rico. It was confirmed by the company. “The Project Loon team at X is exploring if it’s possible to bring emergency connectivity to Puerto Rico,” the X lab’s official Twitter account shared this afternoon with its followers. X which was formerly known as Google X is the “moonshot” division of the Google-owner Alphabet is responsible for the Wing drone delivery project and the self-driving car unit. It became Waymo, along with other forward-looking tech-adjacent startups.
Puerto Rico houses nearly 3,5 million people and still remains largely devastated by Hurricane Maria. The hurricane is being put under Category 4 which has claimed 24 lives till now in Puerto Rico itself. The repercussions were so stripping and alarming that it has left almost the entirety of the US territory sans electricity and even the facility of potable water. The situation of the place is rather grievous and heartbreaking.
The calamity has done its part by destroying island’s communication infrastructure. It is being estimated that 90 percent of Puerto Rico’s cell towers are offline making the residents unable to reach their friends and relatives. Even though Donald Trump is sending tweets that Washington is working to provide aid, there doesn’t seem any help provided from the administration to repair Puerto Rico’s infrastructure. Companies like Facebook is coming forward to lend a hand in dire times like these. Facebook had announced that it is sending a connectivity team to the calamity-hit area with a $1.5 million donation. This is being done to get the island back online.
Providing a measure of connectivity to such areas has been one of the core missions of Loon since the time of its inception in 2011. The unit can boast of running pilot programs in places like New Zealand and Brazil. The segment has partnered with a number of countries, including Sri Lanka and Indonesia. The partnership is established deploy LTE using its signature air balloons. But it seems that Loon has not attempted to aid an emergency connectivity at the scale Puerto Rico needs.
Let us hope that Puerto Rico emerges stronger and better from this problem and it gets all the help that it requires. We are sending out our love.
Thank you for reading. Until next time dear friend.