Drones. While they've got a bit of a bad name for themselves among sectors of society, mobile firm EE said they are the answer to helping the emergency services step up to the plate when disasters strike.
EE has revealed plans to use drones to keep rural parts of the UK connected by so-called "air masts".
The mobile network will be sustained by mobile transmitters attached to either drones or helium balloons – a "helikite" – to provide 4G mobile coverage where permanent sites have been damaged or in areas where there is no 4G coverage.
“We are going to extraordinary lengths to connect communities across the UK," said EE chief executive Marc Allera.
"Rural parts of the UK provide more challenges to mobile coverage than anywhere else, so we have to work harder there – developing these technologies will ultimately help our customers, even in the most hard to reach areas."
To complete a superhero package, EE is also deploying a fleet of "rapid response vehicles" to support the network, keeping this vital service live during local site outages and essential maintenance.
In the future, why couldn’t we offer what we're calling 'coverage on demand'? What if an event organiser could request a temporary EE capacity increase in a rural area, or a climber going up Ben Nevis could order an EE aerial coverage solution to follow them as they climb?