Google balloons to help restore Puerto Rico's cell networks

A day before Caribbean trip, Pence meets newly arrived Puerto Ricans in Orlando

A day before Caribbean trip, Pence meets newly arrived Puerto Ricans in Orlando

The project, which is run by research firm X, has provided back-up internet services after natural disasters before.

More than 80% of Puerto Rico's cellular towers are still out of service more than two weeks after the arrival there of Hurricane Maria, and almost one-third of the island's counties have no service, according to the FCC.

Musk agreed. Hours later, he announced he was delaying the unveiling of Tesla's new semi-truck and diverting resources, in part to "increase battery production for Puerto Rico and other affected areas".

In late September, Tesla said it was sending hundreds of batteries that can store power generated by solar panels to Puerto Rico to provide emergency help in the wake of Hurricane Maria. The agency formed a task force this week and approved an advance of $77 million to support carriers working to restore telecommunications services. But that doesn't mean it will able to get them in the air anytime soon.

USA authorities have approved Alphabet Inc's application to use its experimental Project Loon balloons to provide emergency mobile phone service to disaster-stricken Puerto Rico, as Tesla said it would send more battery supplies.

But there are limitations, she said Saturday.

The FCC said on Friday that 83 per cent of cell sites remain out of service, while wireless communications company are deploying temporary sites. It also took the step of creating its Hurricane Recovery Task Force that will work on restoring services to the islands.

In a statement given to Engadget, a spokesperson for Alphabet's X lab said the team needs to work with a partner network of a local telecom, like Telefonica, to make it all work. As most of the smartphones are not capable of transcoding Band 8 LTE signals, the OEMs are necessarily required to push an OTA update for every smartphone in Puerto Rico. "People know right away".