How to restore cell service after a natural disaster
8:58

How to restore cell service after a natural disaster

Tech Industry
The winds are ferocious right now. It's almost as if some of these structures have been through a blender. The loss of phone service on the island has made the recovery process even harder. How long do you think it's gonna take for you to have power? We need water waiting. Cell phone service cell phone services. [MUSIC] AT&T maintains five disaster recovery warehouses across the world. There are four in the US and one in the UK. Anything from small local disaster where Responders or customers need extra service enhanced service wildfires, terrorist incidents, local emergencies when disasters and emergency strike. at&t has this equipment these assets these warehouses that are ready to go and can be deployed during disasters to help restore service for our customers. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] One of the big things that we use is called a sack cold. So that's a satellite selling light truck. And it's basically a mobile cell site. We can deploy these anywhere and provide cellular mobile service to our customers. customer. [IN AUDIBLE] Right now we're in one of the disaster recovery warehouses that AT&T maintains.[BLANK AUDIO] This is one of the FirstNet flying cows flying cow is flying cell on wings. This acts as the cell tower itself. This gives you the radio height. So you get more coverage. It is a quadcopter. This is the payload that the quadcopter can lift. So this is the antenna and this is the radio, cellular radio. It is tethered. So that means there is a cable that comes from the bottom of the drone. Connects back to a power source and also connects back to the backhaul. So when I say backhaul, that's how the cellular radio talks to the rest of the world. Right? It doesn't just happen by magic. It's got to talk via a fiber optic fiber optic connection or a satellite connection, or some other kind of kind of hard connection. This is a satellite cell on light trailer, the same surface Just in a different form factor. So from a user perspective, if I pull out my phone, and all of a sudden all the macros around here shut down and we turn these up. Same for me, I don't see a difference. I can still call home, I can still check my email. I can still go to Google. This one just is what we call a flyaway. So this one can be lifted by helicopter or put onto an airplane for transport. If we need to get to a place where there's no roads, bridges around floods, earthquakes, large holes underground, whatever it is, we can't get to someplace. We can lift something via helicopter and bring it to where it needs to go. [MUSIC] It's about the mission How many users are you going to support? What's the traffic demand? Are you doing streaming video for let's say cameras or are you doing volti for telephone calls? So we have to look at all of that traffic mix. In order to make that decision. The police department of fire department or whoever is doing search and rescue We'll define what the mission is this National Coordinating Center, that organization has each of the carriers and each of the telecom providers as part of their constituency. And they discuss the implications. Let's say hurricane Maria as an example. They will start to entertain. Okay, you know XYZ carrier has an outage, at&t can you help them by providing roaming coverage, things of that nature. And so in hurricane Maria, the answer was absolutely yes. We at&t have requested roaming from others. In that cases and others have requested roaming on us, and that all takes place through our regulatory organization. Each event has their own uniqueness and Puerto Rico is an extremely challenging situation because of, The lack of food, the lack of water in a very humid and via hot environment. You're getting assets and people to an island. It's not like traveling across roads in the United States. I would say there was at least 1000 people from the mainland in Puerto Rico. At the high point of Hurricane Maria, we actually turned some aircraft and boats from just sending technology material over to Puerto Rico to just flying food and water over to Puerto Rico. We had to do that. Hurricane Michael has challenges just by the sheer devastation. Their White Houses probably 2000 square foot houses that will completely blown off their foundations. There was nothing left on the foundations and they will probably blown I'd say at least a half a mile across across the road,after every storm We look back and say, Okay, what could we have done better? One of the improvements that came out of Harvey was we ran into difficulty getting through flooded areas. So one of the solutions that we came up with and there are other solutions as well is amphibious vehicles. [MUSIC] So this unit can go on land or in any depth of water. So it can go in a full lake up to however deep you want to. This unit floats, even if you get water on the inside, it still floats, still moves. You can either fit cargo or more people in here for there are [UNKNOWN] seats in here Flooded areas, muddy areas, swampy areas, you name it, we can get there with these things. [BLANK_AUDIO] When we are deployed to disaster areas, people need a place to work. This is our rolling office space. We have radios, Hf radios. Stationed all around so we can talk to our folks in the field. It is air conditioned, it has its own generator. This is where the magic is. This is how we connect back to the 18t land. There's a satellite dish on the roof. I actually slept in here for Okay, Michael. Wasn't so bad, because there are no hotel rooms at all available and I drove this down so I got to sleep in it. [MUSIC] When we go into a disaster area, we definitely don't want to tax the local area. Folks there need to find their own hotel rooms they need to find food. They need to go repair their houses. So we want to bring everything that we think we're going to need with us. So inside here you guys can come inside. So in here is everything you would ever need ever. We have everything from screwdrivers to welders, to blowers to chain saws. To hammer drills to pick axes to every size tie wrap, you can see everything's labeled. We have one of these in each of our warehouses. They're all set up the same. We keep everything powered up because when I make sure these are always working always up and ready. I think it was Michael we needed to cut something or grind something. And we didn't have any angle grinders and we did have to go out and purchase them. But since then, every warehouse now has several angle angle grinders [MUSIC] I personally was down in Mexico Beach When we set up the seconds there in Mexico Beach, who three days after the storm hit, and it was it was a war zone. I remember seeing people just wandering around. And once we set it up, they were very, very thankful that they could call home. I was at one section one of the other teams down the street. They actually had somebody come up and they were able to give them a phone they were able to call their daughter or some sibling and say yes, I'm alive and they had heard from a three days. So you know, stuff like that is really awesome. Because they these people lost everything. And for them to be able to call a family member and say, yeah, I'm alive and I'm okay. That's great. [MUSIC]

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