FCC Approves Project Loon's Expansion Over Puerto Rico
Each balloon can provide internet service to an area of roughly 1,930 square miles
November 20, 2017
WASHINGTON — The “Project Loon” balloon system is delivering limited internet connectivity to LTE-enabled phones in the hardest-hit areas of Puerto Rico. Google’s parent company, Alphabet, said that the project had delivered basic internet connectivity to more than 100,000 people on the island as of Nov. 9 , according to Reuters.
And as of Nov. 16, 39% of cell sites around Puerto Rico remained out of service, according to the FCC, and recently it approved Alphabet’s application to provide emergency cellular service to Puerto Rico using up to 30 balloons.
Alphabet said it would likely not need that many, since each balloon can provide internet service to an area of roughly 1,930 square miles. Puerto Rico’s total land area is 3,515 square miles.
Project Loon is part of an innovation lab within Alphabet that the company calls X, previously known as Google X. It’s being carried out in collaboration with AT&T and T-Mobile US Inc, and began operating in October, according to the same article.