Google delivering emergency texts, emails and web access in Puerto Rico and Peru

Since Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, causing significant damage to the connectivity infrastructure, Google Loon have been working hard to see if it was possible to bring some basic internet connectivity back to the island. Google Loon is now collaborating with AT&T to deliver emergency internet service to some of the hardest hit parts of the island.

While Project Loon is still an experimental technology and they are not quite sure how well it will work, they hope this can be of some help to the people of Puerto Rico at this time.

Two of the Google Loon balloons are already over the Puerto Rico enabling texts, emails and basic web access to AT&T customers with handsets that use its 4G LTE network.

Several more balloons are on their way from Nevada, and Google has been authorized by the Federal Communications Commission to send up to 30 balloons to serve the hard-hit area.

Delivering Emergency Service in Peru for Months

Project Loon has been working together with Telefonica and the Peruvian Government to deliver basic Internet connectivity to tens of thousands of people in affected areas around Lima, Chimbote and Piura.

In March, Peru was battered by extreme rains and flooding, with the government declaring more than 800 provinces to be in a state of emergency. Terrestrial communications infrastructure was severely impacted in many communities, leaving people unable to communicate with loved ones and gather critical, time-sensitive information.

Drifting 20 km up in the stratosphere, Loon balloons have the potential to extend connectivity to where it’s needed, regardless of what’s happening below. So, in partnership with Telefonica and the Peruvian Government, we attempted to help provide connectivity to flood affected areas across the country. Since turning on service seven weeks ago, Project Loon delivered basic Internet connectivity to more than 40,000km2 of the country, serving over 160 GB worth of data— enough to send and receive roughly 30 million WhatsApp messages, or 2 million emails.

Being able to deliver connectivity during the floods has only been possible with the support of many organizations. We’ve spent the last few months integrating balloon powered internet into Telefonica’s network so they could serve their customers from our balloons. Additionally, during the emergency response to the flood, O3B networks, Level 3 and Ecologistica Peru helped quickly set up ground stations (which connect the balloons to the Internet’s backbone) in areas with complete outages. Finally, the recent integration of Nokia’s proven LTE technology meant that the balloons could deliver improved LTE service.

8 thoughts on “Google delivering emergency texts, emails and web access in Puerto Rico and Peru”

  1. That's pretty awesome. But I think they should implement more features so users would have more options to organize those emails when they are being delivered. If you don't have any variants and options, you can take a look at this Purposeful messages solution, which was developed by true experts of IT sphere of business. Their solution can help you minimize your time that you usually spend reading emails & IMs.

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  2. Oh noes! Trump’s right! USA MAGA is actually doing good stuff! he’s not exactly the anti-christ incarnate!!!.

    Right? Well, at least that story line won’t even be taken up by Fox.

    … I applaud the zoomy-balloony business. Seems like it works. Now what about power? Oh… well… there is yet another really sad reality story that BOTH the mainstream and conservative media aren’t picking up.

    Turns out that the Puerto Ricans have a lot of opportunistic thieves. Copper thieves. Like a bunch of cucurachas (cockroaches) in the middle of the night, they’re scurrying around stealing ALL of the downed power lines they can. Lots of copper. The insulators are commanding quite a premium too. And the little pegs they sit on. And the wooden crossbars. FEMA or whomever the subcontractors are are buying them by the truckload. The copper too, as wire.

    Quite a system. US Government plans to get “this section” reënergized. Starting from yonder junction substation to hereabouts. The old poles are removed, mysteriously having no wire or cable dragging on the ground. Oh well, just spend US Government money to buy more cable. And there seem to be plenty of opportunists that have mysteriously been stockpiling high-tension insulators for decades so they say. OK, spur the local economy by buying truckloads of them too. Now, get the locals to put up the next 10 mile long 1 phase, 12 kV mains and a bunch of transformers for 110 V household service. Going well, going well. Inspect before slapping the HV circuit breaker. Wait!!! its not showing the expected impedance!

    Inspect the new pole. Ah.. from 3 miles away on, someone has stolen the wire. Dâhmn… Position that team again, to fix it. Buy more cable from the locals. Seems odd they have so much, but its easier to get than getting from US Mainland. Do it again. Wait!!! where are those darn transformers going? Do it again… and again… and again…

    Its like the 2nd house my neighbor was trying to build out in rural Manteca. Every time he got close to lighting it up, he found that the copper thieves had stripped the house of wire AND plumbing. Every fûqueing time. It took 6 tries to get ‘er lit up. 5 insurance claims. 5 of the co-payments. Finally it is working. He’s had to actually pay someone to live there to ensure that his farm equipment doesn’t run away. That’s happened twice. All his solar panels, too. And a FULL tank of propane. 250 gallons.

    Its ridiculous.
    But that’s what desparate people will do.
    Desperate, nominally poor, but now impoverished, surrounded with easily thieved modern wealth bits.

    That’s what’s happening in spades in Puerto Rico.
    That’s why 80% of the country remains without power.
    That’s why it is a FOOL’S ERRAND for a great, big, moral-dependent government to do ’em good.

    Just fuming.
    GoatGuy

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    • That’s what’s happening in spades in Puerto Rico.
      That’s why 80% of the country remains without power.
      That’s why it is a FOOL’S ERRAND for a great, big, moral-dependent government to do ’em good.
      Just fuming.
      GoatGuy

      Yep. And you forgot to mention that even if the have power to use Google’s balloon internet, they’d still would have to contend with Brian’s crappy WordPress comment system so…why bother?

      Reply
    • In Australia they are in the process of making it illegal to sell scrap metal to a scrap metal dealer without proof of ID. Precisely for this reason.
      (Whether this works is TBD.)

      Meanwhile, forget a full tank of propane, my dad had someone steal a tank of water once. 7000 litres. They just drove up in a truck with a tank on the back, connected the tap to a hose, drained it all, drove away.

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    • Umm, so you’re proposing to let the whole island go back to the pre-industrial age because some thieves are finding ways to recycle copper? As Dr.Pat says, make it illegal to sell high-tension wire to a scrap yard unless you have a contract signed by the power company (it might already be the case). Then inspect the scrap yards so they get the message that they need to comply.

      We helped out Houston and Florida, why are we balking at Puerto Rico, which was hit much, much harder than either? (I went to Houston a month later, 95% of the city is just fine and you can’t even tell a hurricane went thru the area, I didn’t even see damaged trees, certainly no damage to the infrastructure). The longer you wait the more desperate people become and the worse the situation will be.

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