BRIDGETOWN, Barbados,– With a week to go before the June 1 official start of the Atlantic hurricane season, Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) has started to test drone technology to help speed up network and connectivity restoration in the aftermath of hurricanes and other natural disasters.
The drones would undertake aerial surveillance of communications infrastructure, effectively eliminating the need for workers to conduct dangerous or risky tower climbs in the aftermath of a storm.
The company explained that while treacherous conditions after a natural disaster make it difficult to assess physical damage to infrastructure and can endanger field technicians sent to fix the issues, drones would enable quick, safe, and wide-area evaluation of the impact on communications infrastructure and allow personnel to move quickly to fix the problem.
“Hurricanes and tropical storms have been known to cause severe damage to telecoms infrastructure in the Caribbean, including our mobile and fiber masts,” said Group Chief Technology and Information Officer, Carlo Alloni in a statement.
“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 communications as a linchpin for such relief efforts, we take our role in the recovery process very seriously.”
The news follows the announcement by C&W of Flow as its residential consumer brand in markets where it has received the necessary approval to merge.
John Reid, president of the consumer group of C&W that currently operates both the Flow and LIME brands said: “Our customers are relying on us to keep them connected, and at the very least to reconnect them swiftly with family, friends and the wider community should a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, impact our services.”
He said it was the company’s duty to maintain those connections, ensure minimal disruption in the wake of natural disasters, and find other ways to be innovative and deploy technology as a problem solver.