It will keep the internet-beaming balloons in areas that need connectivity for as long as possible.
Alphabet's X division notes that this is their fastest deployment of Loon from scratch.
High Tech Communications Services Inc., MilkyWay Communications LLC, North Sight Communications Inc., PDV Spectrum Holding Company, LLC, Space Data Spectrum Holdings, LLC, Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority/PREPA Networks LLC, Sensus Spectrum LLC, and Spok, Inc.
Since Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, causing significant damage to the connectivity infrastructure, Google Loon have been working hard to see if it was possible to bring some basic internet connectivity back to the island. Two of the search giant's "Project Loon" balloons are already over the country enabling texts, emails and basic web access to AT&T customers with handsets that use its 4G LTE network.
For the record, Alphabet launched the balloons from its Nevada launch site to Puerto Rico with the help of aviation authorities and air traffic controllers under the Puerto Rican government.
"We are working with AT&T to activate cellular service for iPhone users in Puerto Rico as the island recovers from Hurricane Maria".
AT&T spokesman Jeffrey Kobs said the company has set up 14 temporary cell sites, and as of Friday more than 60 percent of the population was connected via mobile network, in part due to the help of humanitarian and government groups and Project Loon.
Project Loon head Alastair Westgarth says in a blog post that the technology is still experimental, though it has been tested since previous year in Peru following flooding there.
"We plan to continue to offer emergency internet connectivity in areas where it's needed for as long as it is useful and we're able to do so", said Westgarth. As part of the tie-up, AT&T would be allowing Loon to use its fleet of stratospheric helium balloons. There are some indications that Alphabet is getting ready to spin Project Loon out as its own independent company, similar to how self-driving cars became its own company, Waymo.
At the time, it was unclear if the project would even get off the ground. To improve what is a bad connectivity situation there, it's going to enable a provisional band of LTE that has been recently approved, but not activated in the USA and Puerto Rico, where it has not been licensed.