A global group of organisations are forming the High-Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) Alliance.
They will support and promote the use of high-altitude vehicles to provide broadband.
Those who have committed to join include SoftBank’s HAPSMobile , Alphabet's Loon, AeroVironment, Airbus Defence and Space, Bharti Airtel, China Telecom, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Intelsat US, Nokia, SoftBank Corp and Telefónica Group.
High-altitude platforms for network connectivity operate in the stratosphere, above ground infrastructure but below satellites, and potentially could provide for close to global coverage.
They avoid “ground clutter” and latency, making them suitable for expanding mobile coverage to areas where connectivity is lacking – such as mountainous terrain, remote islands, marine regions and developing countries – as well as for IoT and 5G purposes.
A statement read, “The HAPS Alliance is being created so member companies can collectively advocate for HAPS business development with the relevant authorities in various countries, build a cooperative HAPS ecosystem, develop common product specifications and promote the standardisation of HAPS network interoperability.
“All of these activities will be key to the Alliance’s aim of addressing diverse social issues and creating new value by providing telecommunications network connectivity worldwide through the utilisation of high-altitude vehicles.
“The Alliance, originally an initiative from HAPSMobile and Loon, will have members from participating leading companies across the aerospace, technology and telecom industries to carry out the Alliance’s activities.”
In April 2019 HAPSMobile and Loon formed a strategic alliance to advance the use of HAPS.