Softbank Develops Flying Telecom Bases with Alphabet

Economy

Tokyo, April 25 (Jiji Press)--Softbank Corp. <9434> said Thursday that it will establish a network of flying telecommunications base stations with U.S. Internet giant Alphabet Inc., the parent of Google LLC.

Unmanned aircraft that function as base stations will be flown 20 kilometers above ground, providing connectivity from the stratosphere to locations not served by ground-based stations, such as those in mountainous terrain, remote islands and developing countries.

Powered by solar panels on its main wings, whose total length is 78 meters, the aircraft can fly for months at a time.

Softbank aims to put the aircraft into practical use in 2023.

HAPSMobile Inc., a Softbank subsidiary that developed the aircraft, will work with Alphabet startup Loon LLC to enhance its flight management system. Loon develops telecom services using unmanned stratospheric balloons.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press