It’s been around a month since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. So according to the latest reports, forty-nine are confirmed dead. Some speculate the death toll could be as high as 450.? Also, there are dozens are missing, and much of the island is still in the dark. But the US Virgin Islands hardly fared any better. However, AT&T claims to help, and in many ways, are helping. It’s AT&T and Maria.
Phone giant AT&T partnered with Google to bring at least some kind of Internet service. This includes text messaging, emails, and basic Internet service and computer servicing.? At first, the main goal was to establish communication between Puerto Rico locals and their relatives on the mainland. They also use Google Alphabet X’s Project Loon.
These IT support balloons can bring coverage up to 1,930 square miles. That’s over half of Puerto Rico. Soon, they hope to cover most of the island. They use LTD band 8. This works only for those using the most recent iPhones, Samsung Galaxy’s, Moto G’s, and a handful of others. This should provide connectivity during daylight hours only. Apparently, Project Loon worked before. Because last years, they used it for Peru when floods hit that nation. As of this date, AT&T claims they helped 60% of Puerto Rico get power. They also claim they helped 90% of US Virgin Islands get power again.
But some statistics would disagree with that. According to this Weather Channel report, three million are still without power. That’s about 75% of their population. So that means only 25% of locals have power back.? Furthermore, these balloons will only help those who have the newer smartphones. But what about those who have phones more basic? I’m no expert, but I would guess that would be the majority of the island’s population. I could be wrong. Look, I applaud AT&T for trying to do something. However, are these balloons the right thing for the right time?