Last month, the Federal Communications Commission granted an experimental license to Alphabet, parent company of Google, to launch a network of LTE-enabled balloons over Puerto Rico in an attempt to bring Internet service to the island in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
Now several weeks into deployment, Project Loon has provided basic Internet service to more than 100,000 Puerto Ricans. AT&T and T-Mobile partnered with Project Loon for this effort, allowing the Loon balloons to send LTE signals to their cell sites on the ground. From there, LTE-enabled devices are able to connect to the Internet. It’s not the same as standard cell service, but it’s enough to provide a basic connection to the outside world.