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Google to use balloons to provide Puerto Rico cell service

By David Shepardson


WASHINGTON, Oct 7 (Reuters) The U.S. Federal Communications Commission said late on Friday it had approved Alphabet Inc's application to provide emergency cellular service to Puerto Rico through balloons.


In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico has struggled to regain communications services. The FCC said on Friday that 83 percent of cell sites remain out of service, while wireless communications company are deploying temporary sites.


Alphabet, which announced its Project Loon in 2013 to use solar-powered, high-altitude balloons to provide internet service in remote regions, said in an FCC filing it was working to "support licensed mobile carriers' restoration of limited communications capability" in Puerto Rico.


Earlier on Friday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced he was forming a Hurricane Recovery Task Force with an emphasis on addressing challenges facing Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.


"It is critical that we adopt a coordinated and comprehensive approach to support the rebuilding of communications infrastructure and restoration of communications services," Pai said in statement.


Separately, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello said in a Twitter posting late on Friday that he had a "great initial conversation with @elonmusk tonight. Teams are now talking; exploring opportunities. Next steps soon to follow."


Musk, the chief executive of Tesla Inc, said on Friday the company would send more battery installers to Puerto Rico to help restore power after Hurricane Maria knocked out all power on the island over two weeks ago.


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."


In late September, Tesla said it was sending hundreds of batteries that can store power generated by solar panels to Puerto Rico to provide emergency help in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
REUTERS JW0737
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20 Feb 2018 | 8:16 PM

Dhaka, Feb 20 (UNI) A court of Chandpur district in Bangladesh has awarded the death penalty to five people in a decade-old murder.

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Hasina hands 'Ekushey Padak' to 21 Bangladesh personalities

20 Feb 2018 | 8:14 PM

Dhaka, Feb 20 ( UNI) The 21 winners of 'Ekushey padak' the second highest civilian award in Bangladesh have received the trophies from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

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Shaikh Mujib drew plan to introduce Bangla at all levels

20 Feb 2018 | 7:48 PM

By Mir Afroz Zaman
Dhaka, Feb 20 ( UNI) As the struggle for independence was gaining momentum, Father of the Nation Bangladesh 'Bangabandhu' Sheikh Mujibur Rahman drew a specific plan for introducing Bangla at all levels from the very beginning of his government.

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US, SK militaries to conduct joint drills despite detente with NK

20 Feb 2018 | 4:16 PM

Seoul, Feb 20 (UNI) The US and South Korea will go ahead with military drills off the Korean peninsula despite the “Peace Olympics” and the recent thaw in North-South relations, the South’s defense ministry said in a report to the National Assembly, according to Yonhap news agency of South Korea.

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Post-Brexit UK won't be like Mad Max, says Davis

20 Feb 2018 | 3:59 PM

London, Feb 20 (UNI) Britain will not be "plunged into a Mad Max-style world borrowed from dystopian fiction" after it leaves the EU, the Brexit secretary will say in a speech, according to a BBC News report.

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