BT Enterprise launches counter-drone product

Drone at an airport

BT's Enterprise unit has launched a new counter-drone product for businesses at risk of disruption as a result of unwanted nearby drone flights.

Rogue drone flights can present risks to security, privacy and safety so the latest product could be a welcome addition to a business' security stack.

The product introduces fixed signal blockers that can jam drones from a distance of up to 1.5 kilometres.

Businesses can also invest in portable signal blockers which do the same job and can be easily transported and deployed in different locations wherever they're needed.

In addition to airports, a BT spokesperson told IT Pro "any organisation from any industry that may be vulnerable from rogue drone activity" can make use of the new product. "It could be anything from stadiums and arenas to prisons and private facilities," they added.

The 360-degree multi-sensor detection technology can provide real-time alerts for when a drone enters its 5-kilometre monitoring range. Having a larger monitoring range affords businesses time to assess the drone and whether it poses a threat before potentially taking jamming action against it.

This counter-drone product is co-engineered with DroneShield, a company whose technology has been used in the 2018 Winter Olympics and is currently being used by the British Army and the US Department of Defence.

The fully managed end-to-end product can be tailored for every customer and BT will support planning, design, installation and commissioning, as well as on-going operational support and maintenance once live.

"Unwanted drone activity can have a dramatic effect on an organisation's ability to function effectively and poses a real risk to safety," Simon Wingrove, director of strategy and incubation at BT. "We believe that this partnership between BT and DroneShield will provide our customers with a best-in-class, integrated and secure drone detection solution.

"With BT's world-leading expertise in communications and networked IT services and DroneShield's expertise in the counter-drone space, we are able to provide organisations with the security they need to detect and respond to unwanted drones before they become an issue."

Due to the increased demand and improved affordability of drones, which can provide legitimate uses for organisations in a range of sectors, the number of drone-related incidents rose 29% last year according to the UK Airprox Board.

Most notably was the drone disruptions experienced at Gatwick and Heathrow at the turn of the year which grounded many flights and ruined travel plans for thousands.

As a result, the government introduced new laws which extended the no-fly zones around airports from 1-kilometre to 5-kilometres, the monitoring range of BT's new product, and police were given greater 'stop and search' powers to ensure drone disruptions were put to bed.

The craze even took off in the US as New Jersey's Newark Airport which serves 43 million passengers a year was shut due to a drone scare just a few weeks after the incidents in the UK took place.

"The recent disruptions at Gatwick and Heathrow airports have underscored the importance of counter-drone capabilities for the UK's critical infrastructure, as well as the fact that a range of corporate and public sector operators including security and law enforcement agencies, prisons, venues and events, data centres, VIPs, and many others, are at risk from rogue drone use," said Oleg Vornik, CEO at DroneShield.

"We are excited to work with BT to assist this global leader in infrastructure security with delivering solutions based on our experience in the rapidly-developing counter-drone industry."

Connor Jones
News and Analysis Editor

Connor Jones has been at the forefront of global cyber security news coverage for the past few years, breaking developments on major stories such as LockBit’s ransomware attack on Royal Mail International, and many others. He has also made sporadic appearances on the ITPro Podcast discussing topics from home desk setups all the way to hacking systems using prosthetic limbs. He has a master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from the University of Sheffield, and has previously written for the likes of Red Bull Esports and UNILAD tech during his career that started in 2015.