As Hurricane Sandy battered the Northeast, power outages wreaked havoc on telecommunications networks, knocking out wireless service for thousands of cell phone users. If a future hurricane triggers similar failures, regulators say they have a potential solution.
It has the hallmarks of science fiction: floating wireless antennas from balloons or drones.
The Federal Communications Commission is exploring the use of such airborne technology to restore communications after disasters. Beaming 3G or Wi-Fi signals from the sky may be especially useful to emergency responders in the immediate aftermath of a hurricane, when repair crews are unable reach damaged equipment because roads and bridges are impassible, experts said.Have a solar charger for your cellphone/laptop, and waa-laa, you are back in business.