The US Federal Communications Commission said late on Friday it had approved Alphabet Inc's application to provide emergency cellular service to Puerto Rico through balloons. In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico has struggled to regain communications services. The FCC said that 83 percent of cell sites remain out of service, while wireless communications company are deploying temporary sites.
Alphabet, which announced its Project Loon in 2013 to use solar-powered, high-altitude balloons to provide Internet service in remote regions, said it was working to "support licensed mobile carriers' restoration of limited communications capability" in Puerto Rico. Earlier on Friday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced he was forming a Hurricane Recovery Task Force with an emphasis on addressing challenges facing Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello welcomed the move.
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