U.S. to boost military personnel in Puerto Rico: senator

Google's parent company, Alphabet Inc, started Project Loon, which was created to give internet connectivity to people in rural places and is now being used for disaster relief.

With Puerto Rico still reeling from Hurricane Maria, the tech community continues to find ways to help.

Alphabet will use 30 Loon balloons to float more than 12 miles above the ground that will help connect the island's wireless networks to users' phones.

"It is critical that we adopt a coordinated and comprehensive approach to support the rebuilding of communications infrastructure and restoration of communications services", Pai said in statement. The company, along with Microsoft and others, backs the NetHope consortium, which specializes in setting up post-disaster communication networks and has field teams now operating in Puerto Rico and several other Caribbean islands. "The Hurricane Recovery Task Force will allow us to do just that".

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Tesla had previously said, in late September, that it was sending to Puerto Rico hundreds of batteries that can rely on solar panels to store power which provides emergency aid in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

Puerto Rico governor Ricardo Rossello seems open to the idea but there will be a few regulatory and political hurdles to overcome first before Tesla's SolarCity firm can get to work. It last deployed the balloons to provide emergency phone service in Peru after a flood displaced thousands of people in March.

In 2016, a test site was set up in Puerto Rico to launch what the project called "a handful of test balloons".

"To deliver signal to people's devices, Loon needs be integrated with a telco partner's network - the balloons can't do it alone", she said, adding that the company is "making solid progress on this next step".

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