- Within 72 hours, mobile internet connectivity was deployed to thousands of people in the most affected areas of the country.
- Telefonica and Project Loon have been in technical trials in Latin America since 2014 to bring internet to remote areas.
Lima, May 17th, 2017. Through a joint collaboration agreement, Telefónica Peru and Project Loon join forces to provide mobile internet connectivity emergency relief during the catastrophic floods in Peru.
During March and April of this year, a series of floods and rainfall known as “Coastal El Niño” caused serious damage to public infrastructure, including telecommunication networks. The events affected hundreds of thousands of people in a widespread area. In situations like these, connectivity services are particularly crucial and Telefónica Peru immediately focused on re-establishing communications services.
As part of this effort, Telefónica Peru and Project Loon agreed to expand the scope of our ongoing technical trials in the country to provide temporary relief to the affected populations.
In less than 72 hours, Project Loon’s balloons, which fly at 20 Km up in the stratosphere, started to provide mobile internet connectivity to tens of thousands of people in the most affected areas in the center and northwest of the country, the highlands of Lima, Chimbote and Piura.
This is the first time that balloon powered internet has connected tens of thousands of people. The joint trials in previous months had focused on integrating Project Loon’s technology into Telefónica’s network to connect people to the internet in remote areas but this was the first wide and successful scale trial directly to people’s phones.
This effort was an exceptional demonstration of the ability to collaborate between both companies during this crisis.
Telefónica and Project Loon provided basic Internet connectivity to more than 40,000 Km2 of the country, providing over 160 GB worth of data –enough to send and receive roughly 30 million WhatsApp messages, or 2 million emails.
This action was part of diverse initiatives that Telefónica executed to keep operating services and collaborate with authorities to alleviate the situation. Among these, the company gave free calls via public telephony and unlimited text messaging, and led the “TeleFon”, an initiative to provide aid to survivors with the participation of more than 110,000 Peruvian clients of the mobile industry.
Dennis Fernández, Vice-president of Strategy and Regulatory Affairs of Telefónica Perú, said: “The company focused on bringing the best connectivity support in these emergency situations, especially in the most affected areas. It was a complex logistical challenge to attend all the needs in those extreme circumstances”.
In addition to Peru, Telefónica and Project Loon have been in other technical trials in Latin America since 2014 to bring internet to remote areas.