The company also has colts, or cells on light trucks. “colts are cells on box trucks equipped with 60- to 80-foot towers,” Hamby said. “We might deploy these to Colorado to be used during a forest fire, or to storm sites where equipment has been damaged.”
Verizon began outfitting vehicles with connectivity equipment in the late 1990s, using SUVs, trucks and trailers equipped with signal-monitoring equipment to test network quality, Hamby said.
Beyond vehicles for connectivity, Verizon also maintains a fleet of goats, or generators on a trailer, to bring emergency power to cell sites where power has failed.
Rival AT&T, Dallas, also uses cows and colts “for both disaster recovery and a variety of special events, such as festivals, sporting events or concerts,” said company spokeswoman Susan Newsham. The company also deploys satcolts, which she described as colts that use satellite uplinks for connectivity in remote areas where cellular coverage is sparse or nonexistent, such as deep forests, or where the existing network has been damaged or destroyed. “The satellite colts also can be used to augment coverage capacity in areas with working wireless service,” Newsham said.