Saturday, October 21, 2017

Oh No! Not more balloons! And what’s this about “Project Loon Balloons”?

Please don’t be alarmed Lake Worth
Balloon Platoon!

The news below (see “Project Loon Balloons”) is about a very serious topic, “The parent company of Google” using balloons to restore cell phone service in Puerto Rico after being devastated by Hurricane Maria last month. This cutting-edge project will hopefully help our fellow Americans on the island have their cell phone service restored as quickly as possible.

It’s quite possible this new technology will be used in other areas affected by natural disasters in the future . . . by trained professionals and engineers using balloons.

It needs to be noted — when it comes to balloons — as the City of Lake Worth demonstrated just prior to Hurricane Irma, balloons have the potential to cause havoc on the electrical grid if precautionary steps are not taken.

Here is a press release from September 5th:

Lake Worth — The City of Lake Worth Electric Utilities had to perform a planned outage in order to remove mylar balloons that had become entangled in the main electric line.
     Please remember that the releasing of balloons is not allowed as it poses a risk to electrical infrastructure.

Never release balloons without proper training!

The engineers at Google, of course, will be very mindful of their balloons vis-à-vis protecting the environment and sea life. However, if you didn’t know, the issue of balloons here in the City of Lake Worth can be a touchy one, especially when it comes to the Balloon Platoon and the Lake Worth Beach:

[T]he recent ban against balloons on County beaches will once again fire up the Lake Worth Balloon Platoon, calling for deputies to conduct beach bag searches and subjecting balloon violators to “a fine of up to $500 and up to 60 days in jail” when a simple sign will suffice: “NOTICE: BALLOONS ARE PROHIBITED.”

The news, “Project Loon Balloons”.

Now to the news from reporter Julia Manchester at The Hill about “Project Loon Balloons”, an excerpt:

The parent company of Google received the green light on Friday to provide emergency cellular service to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico using balloons.
     The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced it had granted Alphabet Inc. permission to use solar powered balloons to bring cellular service to the island, [emphasis added] which has been left largely without power since Hurricane Maria hit last month.
     “FCC issues experimental license to Google to provide emergency cellular service in Puerto Rico through Project Loon balloons,” Matthew Berry, chief of staff to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, wrote on Twitter.
     Pai said on Friday he was launching a Hurricane Recovery Task Force focused on providing aid to 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. The Hurricane Recovery Task Force will allow us to do just that,” Pai said.

Remember: Don’t release balloons! Leave that
to trained professionals.

It’s not just about the environment and protecting sea life from balloons, it’s also about protecting our electrical grid as well.