We've noted in the past that mobile operators continue to have problems delivering text messages at times, calling into question the wisdom of using SMS to deliver emergency messages. A new European Commission project hopes to get around the problem of natural disasters or other events disrupting SMS delivery by sending text messages via helicopter. Basically, it sounds like they're strapping a cellular base station and some other network equipment to a chopper, so they can disseminate alerts and emergency information to people in a given area. It's an interesting project, and one that could be potentially useful, since a lack of communications infrastructure is often one of the biggest obstacles to overcome in a disaster zone. However, this seems like it's more focused on one-way, top-down communications, rather than providing a replacement infrastructure allowing two-way communication. It's a good start, though, and hints at possible future solutions. Perhaps there is a future for stratellites after all...
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