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Loon Balloons Restore Internet After a Massive Earthquake Strikes Remote Parts of Peru

When a magnitude 8.0 earthquake struck remote parts of Peru’s Amazon region, on Sunday, at the request of the government of Peru and Telefónica, Alphabet re-directs a group of its Loon balloons to the impacted area to restore Internet access. Within 48 hours, people on the ground had wireless broadband communication, reports Alphabet.

Record time: This was not the first time Alphabet's Loon responded to a disaster in the region. The difference this time was the response time. Alastair Westgarth, CEO of Loon, explains: "In early 2017 we worked with Telefónica to respond when flooding impacted northern regions of Peru. Later in 2017, we provided service with AT&T;and T-Mobile after Hurricane Maria impacted Puerto Rico. What is different, this time is the speed with which we were able to respond. In Puerto Rico, it took about four weeks for our balloons to begin providing service. In this instance, we were able to begin providing service in about 48 hours, because we had already deployed the building blocks of the Loon network."

Preparedness is key to balloon-powered internet in disaster scenarios says Westgarth. "It takes a lot of planning and setup to make balloon-powered internet work. ... with Loon already active in a country, as is the case in Peru, our ability to respond to a natural disaster can be measured in hours or days rather than weeks."

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