Google got permission to float its internet-beaming balloons over Puerto Rico

Screenshot  White House  AFP  Getty Images

As Puerto Rico and its people continue to reel from the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria, two of the world's biggest tech companies have outlined plans for bringing power back to the Caribbean island and United States territory. It's a cell tower.

Musk, the chief executive of Tesla Inc, said on Friday the company would send more battery installers to Puerto Rico to help restore power after Hurricane Maria knocked out all power on the island over two weeks ago.

On Friday night, the FCC announced that it had approved Alphabet, Google's parent company, to provide emergency phone reception to Puerto Rico through the use of balloons.

"It is critical that we adopt a coordinated and comprehensive approach to support the rebuilding of communications infrastructure and restoration of communications services", Mr Pai said in statement. It also took the step of creating its Hurricane Recovery Task Force that will work on restoring services to the islands.

Puerto Rico governor Ricardo Rossello seems open to the idea but there will be a few regulatory and political hurdles to overcome first before Tesla's SolarCity firm can get to work.

It could help provide the people of Puerto Rico with access to cellular service to connect with loved ones and access life-saving information.

But the Puerto Rico situation is different.

Tesla is now working on "the world's biggest" lithium ion battery to help with power supply in South Australia. But in that case, Google had already partnered with a telecom provider on the ground, which it depended on to beam the signal to the balloons, for disaster relief. It's unclear if Puerto Rico's stressed telecom companies even have the resources to partner with Google on this endeavor.

Project Loon sends balloons intro the stratosphere - twice as high as commercial airliners - where they are self-powered by solar panels.

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