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Emergency Connectivity Solutions: 5G Restoration via Drones and Balloons

June 1, 2024

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The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is exploring the deployment of drones and tethered balloons to re-establish 5G services in the wake of emergencies and natural disasters that disrupt standard telecommunications. An informed official has disclosed that the DoT plans to conduct trials in the near future to assess the effectiveness of this strategy, with the goal of reaching a conclusive decision by June of the following year.

The official elaborated on the strategy, stating that the intent is to set up a provisional 5G network through the use of drones or tethered balloons to maintain mobile coverage in times of crises or disasters.

This approach is deemed more practical for restoring connectivity during calamities than the construction of new mobile towers.

Telecom industry leaders have noted that in such circumstances, existing spectrum allocations could be leveraged to maintain service, and power needs could be fulfilled using backup or solar solutions.

The DoT’s disaster management division is responsible for maintaining telecom services during and post-disaster situations. The division’s duties extend beyond ensuring connectivity; it also issues early warning alerts and manages automated priority call routing in disaster scenarios.

The government has instituted a policy of infrastructure sharing among telecom operators to facilitate service continuity in disaster-stricken regions, enabling users to connect to any operational tower regardless of ownership.

Power outages, a frequent cause of network failures during disasters, have prompted the government to recommend that operators maintain power backups. Regulations require telecom companies to have a reserve of portable base stations and satellite equipment to restore services affected by damaged base tower stations.

The government believes that the additional use of drones and balloons to resume telecom services will significantly mitigate challenges during emergency situations.

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