AT&T debuts 'Cell on Wings' drone in Puerto Rico

Tuesday 7 November 2017 | 08:53 CET | News

AT&T has announced the deployment of what it calls its Flying COW (Cell on Wings) helicopter in Puerto Rico, the first time an LTE cell site on a drone has been used to connect residents after a disaster. The Flying COW flies 200 feet above the ground and can extend coverage farther than other temporary cell sites, said AT&T, adding that the technology is providing wireless connectivity to customers devastated by the impact of Hurricane Maria in an up to 40-square mile-area.

The company has already teamed up with Alphabet’s Project Loon to deploy the latter’s LTE balloons and provide emergency mobile services for people with LTE-enabled phones. However, the unprecedented damage wrought by Hurricane Maria has required the AT&T to look to innovative solutions to connect customers, first responders, and disaster recovery teams. The Flying COW is currently being deployed in the San Juan area and will be relocated in the coming days to support additional areas, including the military hospital at Manati Coliseum.

AT&T added that teams are working around the clock to restore its network and deploy additional assets in impacted areas in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. The company said nearly 70 percent of the population in Puerto Rico and nearly 95 percent of the population in the US Virgin Islands have now been reconnected to the network.


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