AT&T's "Flying COW" (Cell On Wings) carries LTE antennas as payload under a tethered Pulse Aerospace Vapor 55. Image: AT&T

AT&T flies c-drone to restore Puerto Rico cell service

Emergency response

AT&T, currently working to restore communication services in Puerto Rico following devastating Hurricane Harvey, has deployed a c-drone as a temporary cell tower replacement.

Dubbed the “Flying COW” for Cell On Wings, the Pulse Aerospace Vapor 55 c-drone carries a pair of LTE antennas at a height of 200 ft (60 m) and supplies voice and data coverage for a range of 40 sq mi (100 sq km). Power is supplied through a cable so the drone can remain aloft for many hours. The US FAA has just issued an emergency waiver for the operator to fly the drone, as its weight exceeds the 55-lb (25 kg) limit for small c-drones.

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