Project Loon balloons, from Google's Alphabet, to aid Puerto Rico

Students organize after the storm to help turn the Ross University student center into a functioning shelter

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.

"Let's talk", said Gov. Ricardo Rossello in a Friday tweet.

Mr Musk said he was diverting resources from a semi-truck project to fix Model 3 bottlenecks and "increase battery production for Puerto Rico & other affected areas".

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

Loon is one of Google's original "moonshot efforts created to bring connectivity to remote areas of the world and locales struggling in the aftermath of natural disaster".

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The FCC announced Saturday that it's approved an experimental license for Project Loon to operate in Puerto Rico.

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said 83 per cent of mobile sites remain out of service, while wireless communications companies had deployed temporary sites.

Last Thursday, the Project Loon team at Alphabet's X division noted to Mashable that they were "working hard with the Puerto Rican authorities to see if there's a way for us to use Loon balloons to bring some emergency connectivity to the island during this time of need".

The approval is part of the FCC's larger promise to form a hurricane recovery task force that's primarily focused on Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. But in earlier statements to Mashable, a Loon spokesman said the Puerto Rico effort would be "a little more complicated because we're starting from scratch". To deliver signal to people's devices, Loon needs be integrated with a telco partner's network - the balloons can't do it alone. "You don't have to announce you've lit up coverage".

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