AT&T in what they claim is a first is supplying critical communications capability (data, voice, text) via their Flying COW (Cell on Wings). This is essentially a LTE cell site on a drone and it is being deployed to reconnect residents after the hurricane disaster.
The Flying COW is providing wireless connectivity to customers in an up to 40-square mile-area. It flies 200 feet above the ground and can extend coverage farther than other temporary cell sites.The system is ideal for providing coverage in remote areas.
Video courtesy of AT&T
An unprecedented event such as Hurricane Maria has required that companies look to innovative solutions to connect customers, first responders, and disaster recovery teams. From AT&T’s involvement with Vanu, to their unique use of portable cell sites at the base of clusters of cell towers, testing the Flying COW is just one way AT&T is using technology in new ways.
Currently deployed in the San Juan area, they plan to relocate our Flying COW in the coming days to support additional areas, including the military hospital at Manati Coliseum.
Teams are working around the clock to restore the network and deploy additional assets in impacted areas in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Today, nearly 70% of the population in Puerto Rico and nearly 95% of the population in the U.S. Virgin Islands are connected again.