On 20 September the island of Puerto Rico was almost demolished by Hurricane Maria, the 10th most devastating Atlantic hurricane on record. Six-weeks later significant repairs are needed on the infrastructure – electricity, water, plumbing, roadways, etc. Services are slowly creeping back, but one of the most important services, communications, are getting help from an unlikely undertaking called Project Loon.
Alphabet (aka Google) has joined forces with T-MO and AT&T to provide cell service to the island. Without cell service it’s difficult to coordinate the logistics of rebuilding, emergency services, and basic communication between family members and friends. By releasing helium balloons that operate at ~60,000 ft they have managed to provide LTE service to 100,000 people! Not sure how they came up with the name, Project Loon, but that’s not really important.
The most amazing thing of all is that there is no revenue to be gained, no pop-up ads or accessories to sell, simply large corporations reaching out and helping those in need – in stark contrast to those that use their billions to hire finance firms to help hide profits and avoid taxes.
This has nothing to do with politics or philosophy, it’s called doing the right thing and helping those in need – concepts that are both timeless and borderless. Given all the disasters and challenges that occur, I applaud this behavior and hopefully this will prove an example for others that it is perfectly okay to place people before profits.