The United States Federal Communications Commission on Friday said it had approved Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc’s application to provide emergency cellular service to Puerto Rico through balloons, Reuters reported.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which was the second major storm to hit Puerto Rico in a month, the island has struggled to regain communications services. The US Federal Communications Commission said 83% of cell sites were out of service.
Alphabet announced its Project Loon in 2013. It uses solar-powered, high-altitude balloons to provide internet service in remote regions. On Friday, Alphabet said in an FCC filing that it was working to “support licensed mobile carriers’ restoration of limited communications capability” in Puerto Rico.
On Thursday, Tesla founder Elon Musk said Puerto Rico’s electrical infrastructure, which was shattered by Hurricane Maria, can be rebuilt with his firm’s solar energy technology. Electricity has not been restored in most parts of the island yet, even weeks after it was devastated by the storm.