Google and Tesla have plans to help rebuild Puerto Rico

Students and faculty members evacuate from Ross University School of Medicine in Dominica

Students and faculty members evacuate from Ross University School of Medicine in Dominica

The island, home to almost 3.5 million people, remains crippled by the Category 4 storm that struck last month, which disabled more than 90 percent of Puerto Rico's cell towers and left its communications infrastructure in shambles.

Google's parent firm Alphabet on Friday received a permit from the US Federal Communications Commission to use balloons to provide hurricane-hit Puerto Rico with emergency cell service.

As Wired points out, Alphabet used the balloons to provide phone service in Peru after flooding ravaged the country, but Puerto Rico might be a little tougher.

Though the Loon technology is not entirely proven, it could help speed the restoration of vital communications as the USA territory works to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Maria. It also took the step of creating its Hurricane Recovery Task Force that will work on restoring services to the islands.

Thanks to Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico's cellular infrastructure has been badly damaged.

When it comes to power, Tesla boss Elon Musk wants to get the lights back on in Puerto Rico using a solar power grid designed by his company - the entrepreneur said on Twitter that projects completed on smaller islands could be scaled up.

Musk agreed. Hours later, he announced he was delaying the unveiling of Tesla's new semi-truck and diverting resources, in part to "increase battery production for Puerto Rico and other affected areas".

Tesla is now working on "the world's biggest" lithium ion battery to help with power supply in South Australia. It had partnered with a telecomm company and was testing balloons. The balloons that were deployed in Peru, in fact, were launched from Puerto Rico. It partners with local telecommunications companies to transmit high-speed internet from high-altitude balloons.

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