Tesla and Google are joining an effort to rebuild the island's infrastructure that also includes Facebook, which committed to send its connectivity staff to the island to help in recovery and reconstruction.
The special temporary licence is "needed to support licensed mobile carriers' restoration of limited communications capability in areas of Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands (MTA025) affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria", the licence says, and is eligible between October 6, 2017 and April 4, 2018.
"Such a decision would be in the hands of the PR govt, PUC any commercial stakeholders and, most importantly, the people of the PR". The reason for increased difficulty is that Loon was already in testing in Peru with a carrier and was ready to roll. Like dirigibles, the Loon aerostats are equipped with ballonets that can be inflated with air, reducing the volume of the lifting gas and allowing climbs and descents.
More than two weeks after the storm, about 82% of the island is still without cell service, the FCC said Saturday.
The system has been proven to work. Loon balloons are designed to "ride the wind" to get to a destination and are super-pressurized to withstand for over 100 days in the stratosphere.
The Hurricane Maria blew away almost all the physical telephone poles in its path; it's a huge task to reconstruct them in a very short time frame and here comes the Google Project Loon to the rescue.
"'Loon' needs to be integrated with a telco partner's network, the balloons can not do it alone", an Alphabet spokesperson was quoted as saying. The idea, as Harris wrote in Wired, is for Alphabet to set up base stations that will connect to the wireless networks that are still standing.
"That's why we need to take innovative approaches to help restore connectivity on the island".
The technology was put to use in May in Peru to provide internet service, after extreme rains led to catastrophic flooding, according to Google.
Vice President Mike Pence visited the island on Friday in a bid to reassure those on the island that it will receive federal assistance.
Tesla's Powerwall renewable energy tech powers smaller islands and its thought that it could be scaled up for Puerto Rico. Are you a techie who knows how to write?