As the Caribbean prepares for the upcoming hurricane season, which begins on June 1, Cable and Wireless Communications (C&W) has begun to test drone technology that would help expedite network and connectivity restoration after natural disasters.
According to C&W, a communications and entertainment provider that operates in the Caribbean and Latin America, the drones would undertake aerial surveillance of communications infrastructure – effectively eliminating the need for company personnel to conduct dangerous or risky tower climbs in the aftermath of a storm.
The often treacherous conditions that exist after a natural disaster make it difficult to assess the physical damage to infrastructure and can also endanger the field technicians sent to fix the issues. Drones, however, enable quick, safe and wide-area evaluation of the impact that the hurricane or other natural disaster has on communications infrastructure, C&W explains.
‘Hurricanes and tropical storms have been known to cause severe damage to telecoms infrastructure in the Caribbean, including our mobile and fibre masts,’ comments Carlo Alloni, group chief technology and information officer. ‘Along with power and water, it is critical that we re-establish communications swiftly in the event that adverse weather conditions cause wide-spread service disruption.”
With similar drone surveillance programs to be launched in other markets ahead of the hurricane season, C&W is the first to pioneer the use of drones for such a purpose in Anguilla, says the company, which is headquartered in London and has an operational hub in Miami, within close proximity to the Caribbean and Latin America.