On October 7th, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted an experimental license for Project Loon, led by Google's parent company Alphabet, to help provide emergency cellular service in Puerto Rico. As FCC Chairman Pai explained: "More than two weeks after Hurricane Maria struck, millions of Puerto Ricans are still without access to much-needed communications services. That's why we need to take innovative approaches to help restore connectivity on the island. Project Loon is one such approach."
Project Loon is a network of high altitude balloons that provides connectivity to users on the ground. This novel approach, which requires the cooperation of local incumbent wireless carriers en la isla del encanto, could help provide the people of Puerto Rico with access to cellular service enabling them to connect with loved ones and to access life-saving information.
Project Loon potentially could bring voice and internet access services not only to additional areas impacted by natural disaster caused emergencies, but also to rural or remote regions that generally lack the same communications connectivity large urban areas in the United States regularly enjoy. A brief video explanation from Project Loon is at https://x.company/loon/#video:MiEZfRh-h-s.
Barry Skidelsky is a NYC based attorney whose private practice involves entertainment, media, telecommunications and technology. A frequent author and speaker, member of EASL's Executive Committee and co-chair of EASL's TV & Radio Committee, se habla espańol tambien. Barry can be reached at 212-832-4800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.