Hurricane Maria was devastating as it passed through Puerto Rico, which had also recently suffered the wrath of Hurricane Irma. The official death toll rises to 34 people and the economic damage caused will be very slow to recover, including telecommunications infrastructures especially mobile networks, due to the fall of numerous antennas.
Having mobile coverage in emergency situations is essential, to facilitate the communication of both the affected and the emergency services. And given the situation on the Caribbean island Google has obtained permission from the FCC to collaborate with local operators through Project Loon, with the installation of 30 balloons that will help to recover the coverage .
Project Loon was a project that promised to bring basic mobile coverage, based on 4G, to places that are difficult to reach by other means or to areas with temporary problems. The first test of fire occurred during the floods in Peru during the month of May, where Google was already testing its balloons with Telefónica.
To be able to offer the service it is necessary collaboration by one side of the local authorities (permits to use spectrum and for balloons to ascend without interfering with air traffic) telecommunications companies with infrastructure at ground level. This collaboration will be repeated this time in Puerto Rico, following the FCC's permission to Google to temporarily use the 900 MHz band.
An update via OTA and ready
Balloons or balloons alone can not offer coverage, but operators in Puerto Rico have already opened their doors to Google's help. As long as work to launch the balloons and coverage get underway, Google X, the special projects division, is already working with smartphone manufacturers to get their devices to accept the sign of balloons
The service will be offered through band 8, compatible with a large number of phones but initially not enabled for use. Google already works with Samsung, Apple, LG and other brands to launch an update to their smartphones via OTA enable the use of band 8 which would be disabled via the same route once it is no longer necessary . In short, a demonstration of how technology can help society in complicated cases.
Via | 9to5 Google