COW drones restore phones cut by severe weather

In their effort to reconnect southeastern communities cut off by Hurricane Ida, telecom companies are taking to the skies with flying COWs. Far from heifers, however, those cell-on-wings units are ultra-buffed, extreme weather-resistant drones that provide phone service to isolated people with the outside world.

AT&T COW drones provide phone services interrupted by extreme weather

Telecom giant AT&T says it deployed its most recent generation of COWs to areas of the southeast whose electricity and communications connections have been cut off by Ida. Though tethered to a multi-purpose cable attached to ground equipment, the specialized drone can hover at 300 feet in extreme weather conditions, providing LTE phone coverage over an area of 40 miles. AT&T’s COWs can withstand wind of up to 50 mph, and operate almost indefinitely.

The aerial communication relay stations were developed by AT&T’s Network Disaster Recovery Team, which has already produced several…