Google parent turns on internet balloons in Puerto Rico

FILE - This Tuesday, July 19, 2016, file photo shows the Google logo at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Google said Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, it is ending its so-called "first click free," a policy loathed by many publishers and media because it required a limited amount of free content from them before readers could be subjected to a paywall. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) — Google’s parent Alphabet Inc. says its stratospheric balloons are now delivering the internet to remote areas of Puerto Rico where cellphone towers were knocked out by Hurricane Maria.

Two of the search giant’s “Project Loon” balloons are already over the country enabling texts, emails and basic web access to AT&T customers with handsets that use its 4G LTE network.

Several more balloons are on their way from Nevada, and Google has been authorized by the Federal Communications Commission to send up to 30 balloons to serve the hard-hit area.

Project Loon head Alastair Westgarth says in a blog post that the technology is still experimental, though it has been tested since last year in Peru following flooding there.