New Communication Network Could Be a Boom for First Responders During Disasters


New Communication Network Could Be a Boom for First Responders During Disasters

By Ted Lund


When Hurricane Irma scoured the Florida Keys last year, first responders were ready to help those in need that failed to evacuate. There was just one problem. After the island chain running from Key Largo to Key West was battered with 100+ MPH winds, virtually all forms of communications — including landlines, police and fire radio bands and cell phones — were down.

At one point, first responders had to communicate with officers, EMTs, and other rescue vehicles via codewords — assigned at the beginning of every shift. Responders then had to keep their vehicle radios tuned to the commercial radio station frequency for updates on what was going on and even coded dispatch orders.



The stories don’t end there; just recently, a prominent cellular carrier refused to offer unthrottled data to firemen and woman fighting the largest fire in California history, suggesting “they buy an upgraded plan.”

But thanks to an innovative new take on communications systems from Airborne Wireless Network, first responders operating in disaster zones as well as residents of remote, rural areas, islands and ships or oil rigs at sea could have all the connectivity they need.

The crux of the concept relies on commercial airliners serving as airborne repeaters, creating a seamless a high-speed broadband airborne wireless network by linking commercial aircraft in flight. The concept intends to use each aircraft participating in the network as an airborne repeater or router, sending and receiving broadband signals from one aircraft to the next. The result would be a digital information superhighway in the sky.

The overall goal? Creating a high-speed broadband internet pipeline that improves coverage and connectivity during natural disasters, as well as in rural, remote or underserved areas. Ultimately ABWN hopes to offer its services to wholesale carriers with target customers, such as internet service providers and telephone companies — not to the general consumer.


Airborne Wireless Networks has already tested its proof of concept and is moving into further testing utilizing a pair of Boeing 767 airliners t further refine its network capabilities.

And that’s a good thing for not only first responders but those that depend on them during natural disasters. And that’s good news for everyone.

For more information or to learn more, visit





Original Source:  Baret News