Seeking to explore communications alternatives in the wake of a natural or man-made disaster that damages or destroys terrestrial-based communications networks, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has published a white paper that outlines its vision for a “deployable aerial communications” system.
Titled “The Role of Deployable Aerial Communications Architecture in Emergency Communications and Recommended Next Steps”, the white paper offers a detailed analysis of how a deployable aerial communications architecture (DACA) might help to temporarily restore communications services in the immediate aftermath of a catastrophic event. Such a system would rely on state-of-the-art communications systems on aerial platforms, such as manned aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and balloons. These are capabilities already available for military operations.
The white paper proposes that such a DACA-based solution could provide vital communications services for first responders and disaster recovery professionals under circumstances in which landline, cellular, broadcast or cable capabilities are unavailable. The white paper also outlines a plan for subsequent action by the Commission to further explore DACA capabilities and the potential to deploy a DACA-based communications system in the event of an emergency.