Alphabet, Google’s parent company, launched Project Loon in America last month after the Federal Communications Commission granted the company an experimental license in light of Hurricane Maria, which swept Puerto Rico and left the island in “survival mode” for the past seven weeks.
It's a problem that does not seem to bother President Donald Trump in the slightest.
While the Puerto Rico mission was the project's first in America, Alphabet announced it would do what it could to help — and it delivered.
Working with AT&T and T-Mobile, the balloons released by Project Loon were able to bring basic internet services to over 100,000 Puerto Ricans.
In a blog post, Project Loon’s head, Alastair Westgarth, said that the balloons carrying internet were able to provide “basic communication and internet activities like sending text messages and accessing information online for some people with LTE enabled phones.”
Westgarth explained that since this is the first time Project Loon used its machine learning algorithms to ensure the balloons stayed put over Puerto Rico, the process wasn’t completely error-free. But thanks to this experience, he added, they are becoming familiar with external factors, such as winds. With the additional knowledge, they hope to keep the balloons over areas in need for as long as possible.
The idea behind this particular move was to help people in Puerto Rico who have been severely neglected ever since the hurricane hit the island.
“In times of crisis, being able to communicate with loved ones, emergency services and critical information is key,” Westgarth told reporters. “We hope that the connectivity Project Loon has provided over the last few weeks has been helpful, and would like to thank AT&T, T-Mobile, and our government partners who made these efforts possible.”
It’s heartwarming to see private companies stepping up to help those in need, especially when Trump has been so reluctant to extend a helping hand.