Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, speaking to news media after a bipartisan Congressional visit to the island, said Brigadier General Jose Reyes, Assistant Adjutant General of the Puerto Rico National Guard, told Blumenthal that "there will be 17,000 military personnel", including 8,600 National Guard troops from 13 USA states.
In two tweets Friday, Matthew Berry, chief of staff of the US Federal Communications Commission, said the FCC had approved the Loon application to provide emergency cellular service to the island. Google parent company Alphabet has proposed launching balloons over the island to bring Wi-Fi service to hard-to-reach places, as it has in other parts of the world.
Last Thursday, the Project Loon team at Alphabet's X division noted to Mashable that they were "working hard with the Puerto Rican authorities to see if there's a way for us to use Loon balloons to bring some emergency connectivity to the island during this time of need". "The Hurricane Recovery Task Force will allow us to do just that", Pai also said. Thousands of phone towers were destroyed in Puerto Rico due to the hurricane, and Google will fly 30 balloons over the island to restore phone communication.
Much of the ground work is being spearheaded by nonprofit organizations and small firms with expertise in rural or emergency communications. Now around 10 percent of residents on the island have power. But in earlier statements to Mashable, a Loon spokesman said the Puerto Rico effort would be "a little more complicated because we're starting from scratch".
"They noticed everyone in the plaza pulling their phones out", said CEO Vanu Bose.