For as far as the Internet service that feeds data to our phones has come in the last five years — it's faster, with better coverage area for many more devices — big events with lots of people using data at the same time are still a problem. AT&T thinks drones may be able to help.
The company said in a blog post Wednesday that it is rolling out a test program for so-called "Flying COWs" (Cell On Wings) that it could deploy at big events such as sporting events or concerts such as Austin City Limits Fest that would improve LTE coverage via drones tethered to the ground. The company is already looking at using drones to inspect cell sites more easily, which it will demonstrate at a tech expo this weekend. Both efforts are part of a national drone trial program AT&T has launched this week.
Right now, Flying COWs are just an idea the company is floating (ha, get it?) but given the falling prices of drones and their increasing ubiquity, don't be surprised if they start showing up at crowded events as Internet hotspots sometime in the next few years.
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