Google to use balloons to provide cell service
Google to use balloons to provide Puerto Rico cell service, The U.S. Federal Communications Commission said late on Friday it had approved Alphabet Inc’s application to provide emergency cellular service to Puerto Rico through balloons.
Puerto Rico is a Caribbean island and unincorporated U.S. territory with a landscape of mountains, waterfalls and the El Yunque tropical rainforest.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico has struggled to regain communications services. The FCC said on Friday that 83 percent of cell sites remain out of service, while wireless communications company are deploying temporary sites.
When was this technology commenced ?
Alphabet, announced its Project Loon in 2013 to use solar-powered, high-altitude balloons to provide internet service in remote regions, said in an FCC filing it was working to “support licensed mobile carriers’ restoration of limited communications capability” in Puerto Rico.
- It is a research and development project being developed by X (formerly Google X) with the mission of providing Internet access to rural and remote areas.
- The project uses high-altitude balloons placed in the stratosphere at an altitude of about 18 km (11 mi) to create an aerial wireless network with up to 4G-LTE speeds.
- It was named Project Loon, since even Google itself found the idea of providing Internet access to the remaining 5 billion population unprecedented and crazy/loony.
- The balloons are maneuvered by adjusting their altitude in the stratosphere to float to a wind layer after identifying the wind layer with the desired speed and direction using wind data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).