After the tsunami and tragic earthquake tore apart Japan, many victims that were stranded wanted to communicate with their loved ones but due to the destruction that was caused by the natural disaster, cellphone towers and cables had been crushed and rendered useless. When people tried to place calls, they apparently were greeting with the message, “This is NTT DoCoMo. Due to the earthquake, the area you are dialing is difficult to reach.”
According to seismologists, another major earthquake that will rival last year’s 9.0 one is bound to happen any time between now and 2016. Subsequently, one of Japan’s mobile carriers has decided to re-build its infrastructure with a possible natural disaster in mind. Softbank, which is a Japanese carrier that also provides internet like Verizon and AT&T have decided to erect floating cellphone towers which are essentially mobile relay stations that will serve as an emergency backup when land-based towers are damaged. The towers will be anchored to the ground via ropes along with plenty of weights to keep them tightly tethered.
While this might seem to be something out of a comic book, it has apparently already been proven to work with Lockheed Martin building several floating towers which apparently carried signals almost 20 miles away in Afghanistan during the war. The distance apparently does not waver by much even when the terrain is taken into consideration. As opposed to a ground-based tower which can only carry signals for 5 to 10 miles (on flat terrain), the floating cellphone tower seems to be a good idea. The question that remains is whether or not other carriers that have the finances and the capability to do the same thing will follow suit?