Last month, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane and caused significant damage to the island’s connectivity infrastructure. In the weeks following this disaster, the Project Loon team has been working with the Government of Puerto Rico, the FCC, the FAA, FEMA, spectrum partners and international aviation authorities to bring balloon powered internet to the island to help. Thanks to their support, we are now collaborating with AT&T to deliver emergency internet service to the hardest hit parts of the island.
Working with AT&T, Project Loon is now supporting basic communication and internet activities like sending text messages and accessing information online for some people with LTE enabled phones. This is the first time we have used our new machine learning powered algorithms to keep balloons clustered over Puerto Rico, so we’re still learning how best to do this. As we get more familiar with the constantly shifting winds in this region, we hope to keep the balloons over areas where connectivity is needed for as long as possible.
We’ve never deployed Project Loon connectivity from scratch at such a rapid pace, and we’re grateful for the support of AT&T and the many other partners and organizations that have made this possible. Thanks to the Pan-American and Puerto Rican governments’ aviation authorities and air traffic controllers, who enabled us to send small teams of balloons from our launch site in Nevada to Puerto Rico. Thanks also to SES Networks and Liberty Cablevision who helped quickly set up essential ground infrastructure so that the balloons could get internet connectivity.
We plan to continue to offer emergency internet connectivity in areas where it’s needed for as long as it is useful and we’re able to do so. Project Loon is still an experimental technology and we’re not quite sure how well it will work, but we hope it helps get people the information and communication they need to get through this unimaginably difficult time.
About Project Loon
Project Loon is a network of stratospheric balloons designed to deliver internet connectivity to rural and remote areas worldwide. Loon balloons sail on winds in the stratosphere, extending the reach of our telecommunication partner’s networks into areas that are currently unconnected.
Since our first sizable tests in New Zealand in 2013, Loon balloons have flown more than 26 million kms around the world. Thanks to improvements in balloon design and durability, many balloons stay airborne for more than 100 days, with our record breaking balloon staying aloft for 190 days. This is the second time that Project Loon has been used to connect people after a disaster. In early 2017, Project Loon delivered basic internet connectivity to tens of thousands of people in flood-affected zones in Peru in partnership with the Peruvian government and Telefonica.
Learn more: Turning on Project Loon in Puerto Rico
The Latest on: Project Loon
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It’s a mission that governments, NGOs and corporations are working to make a reality. This Fall, Google parent company Alphabet launched Project Loon — giant balloons carrying wireless routers — to provide online access to Puerto Ricans after ... […]
- How Aerial Tech is Bringing the Internet to Everyone, Everywhere on December 11, 2017 at 2:55 pm
Google’s Project Loon was launched in June 2013 with the release of test balloons on New Zealand’s South Island. The Loon project—the name is short for “balloon,” but slyly acknowledges the perceived lunacy of the undertaking—is the latest of ... […]
- Online state breeding bird atlas launched on December 11, 2017 at 8:26 am
A common loon may know which Minnesota bodies of water are the most ... The nonprofit Audubon Minnesota provided leadership for the project, which utilized scientific expertise from University of Minnesota-Duluth’s Natural Resources Research Institute. […]
- Googlers and Google.org donated $260 million to nonprofits in 2017 on December 8, 2017 at 12:00 am
Meanwhile, Googlers volunteered their time to restore connectivity in Puerto Rico, including efforts through Project Loon. In total, employees volunteered 220,000 hours of time and expertise in 2017. Most recently, Sundar Pichai announced that the company ... […]
- Alastair Westgarth is the man with the internet balloons on December 6, 2017 at 1:17 pm
When the previous head of Google’s Project Loon left in March after six months on the job, Alastair Westgarth took the helm, beaming balloon-powered internet to remote regions of the world — including some disaster recovery missions. In the aftermath ... […]
- Ensure COMMS: Tap Commercial Innovations for the Military on December 5, 2017 at 11:03 am
Known as Project Loon, the concept involves launching hundreds of balloons into the stratosphere, each one supporting a miniaturized cell tower and providing communications between other balloons aloft and radio stations on the ground. Innovations such as ... […]
- Google’s Project Loon Balloons To Provide Internet In India on December 4, 2017 at 12:00 am
Can a network of floating balloons offer internet services? It seems to be a scene right from a science-fiction movie. Tech giant Google has launched a network of balloons that travel 20 km above ground level to deliver signals using LTE technology making ... […]
- Project Loon on December 2, 2017 at 3:52 pm
Browsing around my PlaneFinder I came across a number of balloons. Project Loon is a fascinating project and I advise anyone interested in the technial weird to Google it. Tee Hee! Has anybody mentioned this to the tinfoil hat brigade? This will really ... […]
- Push underway to build National Loon Center in Minnesota on December 2, 2017 at 7:50 am
... one that's being answered by a flock of influential supporters intent on building the first-ever National Loon Center. The ecotourism project is a year in the making and its leaders are just starting to pursue the millions of dollars in public and ... […]
- Inside the X ‘moonshot factory’: Here’s where Google’s ideas take flight (or fizzle) on November 26, 2017 at 5:00 pm
Astro Teller, the “Captain of Moonshots” at Alphabet’s X idea factory, shows off two of X’s innovations: Google’s self-driving car, a venture that was spun off as Waymo; and the communications platform at far left that’s used on Project Loon ... […]
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