Elon Musk’s SpaceX continues to reach into the cosmos with Starlink – its bid to create a network of satellites that will deliver high-speed internet access to regions around the glove – and now Alphabet’s (nee Google’s) contender, Project Loon, has fostered an Avengers team of its own to meet the challenge head-on.
In what will be named the decidedly uncool HAPS alliance, Alphabet has now partnered with telecoms Deutsche Telekom, SoftBank, Bharti Airtel, China Telecom and Telefonica, as well as equipment makers Airbus, AeroVironment, Ericsson, Intelsat and Nokia to continue on its mission.
Together, the alliance will create a common cause of governments to sign on for high-altitude internet delivery, and will set about to set standards for a burgoening industry.
Interestingly, the alliance might also push forward to consider different standards for high-altitude vehicles in the future, given that Project Loon itself has explored the use of internet drones in addition to weather balloons. Whether the firm will take that a step further and consider blimps or sub-orbital satellites is altogether a different question.
Nearly a year ago, Loon signed on with SoftBank’s own HAPSMobile in a bid to create new network services. Loon itself has delivered internet to territories such as Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurrican Maria, which devastated network infrastructure in the country.
Though the initiative will have much work ahead of it, it could prove to deliver a more affordable alternative to the likes of mobile networking towers. Additionally, the concept continues to thrive where other ideas – such as Facebook’s Aquila drone – failed.
What are your thoughts? Would you sign on to join the balloonternet? Be sure to let us know your opinion in the comments below!