You can’t say that the FCC isn’t trying to do its part to help the people struggling in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria. It has provided up to $77 million in Universal Service Funding to help restore service. Most recently it has granted an experimental license for Project Loon, led by Google’s parent company Alphabet, to help provide emergency cellular service as the cell service is restored.
“More than two weeks after Hurricane Maria struck, millions of Puerto Ricans are still without access to much-needed communications services,” said Chairman Pai. “That’s why we need to take innovative approaches to help restore connectivity on the island. Project Loon is one such approach. It could help provide the people of Puerto Rico with access to cellular service to connect with loved ones and access life-saving information. I’m glad the FCC was able to grant this experimental license with dispatch and I urge wireless carriers to cooperate with Project Loon to maximize this effort’s chances of success.”
Project Loon is a network of balloons that provides connectivity to users on the ground. Now that the experimental license has been approved, it will attempt to initiate service in Puerto Rico. Project Loon obtained consent agreements to use land mobile radio (LMR) radio spectrum in the 900 MHz band from existing carriers operating within Puerto Rico.