NTT Docomo and KDDI rushed to set up offshore base stations to provide emergency communications following outages in Ishikawa Prefecture following the Jan. 1 Noto Peninsula earthquake.
The service went into operation Jan. 6, providing mobile phone connectivity within a few kilometers of the vessel anchored 1.7 kilometers off Wajima, one of the hardest-hit cities.
The shipboard base station is a submarine cable laying vessel owned by an NTT Group company, with base station equipment from Docomo and KDDI installed on board.
Communications were knocked out across the rugged Noto Peninsula by the magnitude-7.6 earthquake, hindering rescue operations.
Restoring services has been difficult due to a lack of equipment brought in over land, where many roads remain severed or blocked by landslides. Cellphone service have been restored in some areas.
The two companies agreed in 2020 to work together in future natural disasters. This is the first time for them to jointly operate a base station from a ship.
SoftBank the same day began operating a “drone base station” in Wajima.
The base station is designed to transmit radio waves to a radius of several kilometers from a drone parked in the sky. Drones can remain airborne for long periods by supplying power by wire from a power feeder on the ground. Asahi