Corporate and government customers will soon be able to provide their own wireless coverage in remote or disaster-stricken areas through tiny remote cell towers offered by AT&T (NYSE:T).
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The first-of-a-kind product, which is so small it can be used from inside a suitcase, helps these customers restore service immediately after a disaster strikes. Historically, cell phone companies had to restore service first by sending their own trucks on the field to act as mobile cell towers.
The initiative, called the AT&T Remote Mobility Zone, is the latest in the phone carrier’s goal of better preparing businesses, government and public safety agencies for natural and man-made disasters.
“In the pivotal first minutes of a natural or man-made disaster, AT&T Remote Mobility Zone provides a solution to help maintain critical mobile communications,” said Chris Hill, vice president, of advanced mobility solutions at AT&T Business Solutions.
The product will help customers set up their own mobile voice and data service in the absence of wireless coverage within 30 minutes.
The mobility zone also targets organizations that operate in remote locations where AT&T holds licensed spectrum, but where coverage may not be available. In these areas, AT&T Mobility Vanguard Services, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the cell phone provider, can install permanent cell sites in these areas.
The products come in three forms, the first of which are fixed mounted cell sites intended to be used as a backup communications system or as primary networks in areas without coverage.
Customers can also install a small cell in a suitcase, providing first responders an easy-to-use, transportable system that can bring voice and data coverage to areas where a disaster has knocked out communication channels. The small cell sites can extend connectivity up to a half a mile in any direction from the suitcase.
Designed specifically for government use, AT&T’s park and use product integrates small cell sites into vehicles, which allows users without wireless coverage to access voice and data services on the move.
AT&T has taken several steps in its effort to help mobilize government and business, providing business continuity services, encompassing disaster planning, risk management and recovery preparedness and communications readiness.
The company also conducts several Network Disaster Recovery exercises each year to test, refine and strengthen its business continuity and disaster recovery services.