By B.N. Frank
Opposition to 5G is worldwide and this has limited, slowed, and/or stopped deployment in some locations. Since 2017 doctors and scientists have asked for moratoriums on Earth and in space and the majority of scientists oppose deployment. Since 2018 there have been reports of people and animals experiencing symptoms and illnesses after 5G was activated. In 2019, telecom executives gave U.S. congressional testimony that they had NO scientific evidence that 5G is safe. Some researchers have suggested that activation may be contributing to COVID-19 infections as well as hundreds of thousands if not millions of bird deaths. Of course, others say it’s not.
Nevertheless, research indicates there are health risks associated with 5G exposure as well as expos
ure to 4G and other sources of wireless Wi-Fi radiation and electromagnetic fields (aka “Electrosmog”)
Additionally last year, a federal court ruled in favor of organizations and petitioners that sued the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for NOT adequately protecting Americans from wireless radiation exposure from 5G and other sources of wireless.
5G service also continues to receive crummy reviews. In fact, one critic recently described it as a “complete hot mess.” Nevertheless, deployment and densification has continued throughout the U.S. – even with the unresolved aviation risks associated with 5G operating in the C-band! Now AT&T wants to deploy their 5G-in-the-C-band rurally via drones.
From Fierce Wireless:
AT&T: Flying 5G COW will be a game changer
Drones aren’t exactly new to wireless networks, but AT&T is claiming an industry first with a 5G-driven drone launched in – of all places – a field in rural Missouri.
AT&T’s drone team picked the field for the April launch of its flying COW (cell on wings vs. the older land-based COWs, or cell on wheels) because it’s so remote: no trees, no houses and no wise-cracking humans. (At least, not until they heard about it on Twitter.)
Ethan Hunt, principal program manager of the AT&T Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), explained in a press release that AT&T had intermittent, weak LTE signals at the flight location before they launched the 5G flying COW.
“We flew the drone up to about 300 feet, turned on the signal and it began transmitting strong 5G coverage to approximately 10 square miles,” Hunt stated.
What that means is customers with capable 5G phones in the area could have gone from no service to super-fast wireless connections in seconds, AT&T pointed out. In the future, this could help first responders when they’re conducting search and rescue missions.
According to Hunt, drones may use 5G for command and control or to stream video, but the AT&T 5G Flying COW is the only drone that provides a 5G network. And AT&T says it could be a game changer.
AT&T has a long history of working with drones, with LTE-based drones beaming coverage during big events or disasters. Its current work is notable given that rival Verizon recently decided to shut down the Skyward drone business that it acquired in 2017.
In a statement, AT&T UAS Program Director Art Pregler said all the focus within the drone world is connectivity, and “all of our drone solutions have that focus.” 5G brings a lot of new capability to the table, he added. “We can connect a lot larger number of devices with 5G. When we put that up, we can share with a larger population.”
AT&T is working through some technical challenges to expand the capabilities of its flying COWs, according to Pregler. One thing they’re concentrating on is the ability to fly without tethers for months at a time without landing and using solar power to provide 5G connectivity to large numbers of users over wide geographic areas.
One project they’re working on involves building a litter of “RoboDogs” that can be used for things like search and rescue or bomb disablement. No word on whether they plan to use robot dogs for any high-speed motorcycle pursuits, but that could be a real blockbuster application.
So if AT&T’s 5G drone can transmit a “strong 5G coverage to approximately 10 square miles,” from about 300 feet up in the air, that would mean that AT&T shouldn’t have to install their 5G antennas in front of American homes and throughout communities on streetlights, right?