CenturyLink has collaborated with Alphabet's Loon to deliver internet connectivity to tens of thousands of people cut off by a magnitude 8.0 earthquake in Peru.
Loon is a network of balloons travelling on the edge of space designed to extend internet connectivity to people in rural and remote areas worldwide. Following the earthquake on 27th May in Peru’s Amazon region, the country’s government requested for balloons to be re-directed to the area.
Forty-eight hours after the earthquake, Loon was able to connect balloons to the internet backbone using their ground stations and CenturyLink solutions to deliver service. CenturyLink holds the experimental E-band licence in Peru for Loon's backhaul services, which are still in a testing phase for commercial use. The 71-76 and 81-86 GHz bands, known as "E-band," are permitted worldwide for ultra-high capacity point-to-point communications.
Leveraging Alphabet's Loon balloons and CenturyLink's backbone, affected areas were provided internet access and data capacity. This is the second time balloon-powered internet has connected tens of thousands of people proving challenges in wireless coverage in areas of disaster can be addressed.
"In 2017, Peru was struck by devastating floods and we saw how important an integrated balloon powered network is to communities struggling to recover from the devastation," said Luis Ladera, data and internet product director, CenturyLink Peru.
"The recent earthquake was widespread. Being able to set up ground stations and connect the balloons to our internet backbone to reach areas with complete outages meant those most affected had the ability to communicate with loved ones and to have access to critical information."