Google and Tesla have plans to help rebuild Puerto Rico

Google and Tesla have plans to help rebuild Puerto Rico

Google and Tesla have plans to help rebuild Puerto Rico

This new internal task force will work to support the restoration of communications services in areas affected by this season's hurricanes, with an emphasis of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Alphabet, which 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. "The Hurricane Recovery Task Force will allow us to do just that".

Alphabet has confirmed it plans to use solar-powered, high-altitude balloons to support the restoration of "limited communications capability" in the United States unincorporated territory.

Separately, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello said in a Twitter posting late on Friday that he had a "great initial conversation with @elonmusk tonight. Next steps soon to follow".

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On the heels of Tesla's Elon Musk offer to help solve the island's power problem, Alphabet, Google's parent company, has been approved by the Federal Communications Commission to fly balloons over the island that would help replace the cellphone towers that were blown over by the hurricane.

Thanks to Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico's cellular infrastructure has been badly damaged.

After setting up a network on the island of Vieques, off the main island of Puerto Rico, one team watched from a roof as local residents started getting text alerts from family members who had been trying to get in touch. "Loon needs be integrated with a telco partner's network-the balloons can't do it alone". The company, along with Microsoft and others, backs the NetHope consortium, which specializes in setting up post-disaster communication networks and has field teams now operating in Puerto Rico and several other Caribbean islands.

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