Bharti Airtel joins Alphabets high altitude internet service firm Loon


Alphabet’s high altitude internet service company Loon LLC announced an industry-wide alliance with some of the world’s leading companies to promote the use of high-altitude vehicles for facilitating internet connection.

“A group of global industry leaders announced that they are forming the HAPS Alliance, an association of world-leading telecommunications, technology, aviation, and aerospace companies that are united in promoting the use of high altitude vehicles in the Earth’s stratosphere to eliminate the digital divide and bring connectivity to more people, places, and things worldwide,” the company said in an official Medium post.

The members of this alliance dubbed the HAPS Alliance include SoftBank Corp.’s HAPSMobile Inc. (“HAPSMobile”), Alphabet’s Loon LLC (“Loon”), Bharti Airtel Limited (“Bharti Airtel”), Airbus Defence and Space, China Telecom Corporation Limited (“China Telecom”), Deutsche Telekom AG (“Deutsche Telekom”), Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (“Ericsson”), Nokia Corporation, SoftBank Corp., AeroVironment, Inc. (“AeroVironment”), Intelsat US LLC (“Intelsat”), and Telefónica S.A. (“Telefónica”).

The aim of this alliance is to advocate business development for “ High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS)” with authorities. HAPS are designed for high-altitude network connectivity platforms to boost internet connectivity worldwide. The members will address various social issues and will negotiate with necessary authorities to bring high-altitude internet to their respective countries. The alliance will promote the standardisation of HAPS network interoperability.

“We are very encouraged that many leaders from across the communications and aerospace industries are joining us in our mission to bridge the digital divide with high altitude vehicles. Together with our Alliance partners, we will lay the groundwork for an ecosystem that fosters HAPS connectivity solutions around the world,” Junichi Miyakawa, Representative Director & CTO of SoftBank Corp., and also President & CEO of HAPSMobile said in the official release.

Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO (India and South Asia), Bharti Airtel, said, “We are excited to be a part of this visionary alliance. We look forward to collaborating with member companies towards building a viable ecosystem that helps in bringing digital connectivity to everyone, everywhere.”

Apart from liaising with industry organisations including standards and regulatory authorities, the members will also be working to influence commercial standards, including 3GPP Non-Terrestrial Networks, Loon said in the release.

Loon is a network of balloons located in the Earth’s stratosphere designed to bring internet connectivity to rural and remote areas across the globe.