Loon, a subsidiary of the U.S. tech giant, plans to provide mobile internet connections by flying network equipment on balloons, while Tokyo-based HAPSMobile will use drones. Carriers China Telecom, Germany’s Deutsche Telekom, Spanish firm Telefónica, and Bharti Airtel of India are joining the two firms in an alliance to get spectrum and create uniform regulation and standards for high-altitude vehicles. So are Airbus, Nokia and Ericsson. (Reuters)
Talking point: The airborne efforts are designed to bring coverage to remote or sparsely populated areas where ground-bound network infrastructure would be difficult or uneconomical to install. But the carriers that have shown interest thus far typically operate in or across huge consumer markets. Despite the Alphabet unit’s Canadian icon-invoking name, Ottawa has chosen to look even higher in the sky to connect far-flung members of its smaller population. In July 2019, it made a $600-million deal with Ottawa-based Telesat for access to its low-Earth orbit satellite constellation, which will allow internet service providers to sell high-speed broadband in remote communities.