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UK firms plan to use 5G drones

by on04 November 2020

Harder for yobs and anti-vaxers to set on fire

Plans to beam 5G signals to the public via drones that stay airborne for nine days at a time have been announced by two UK firms.

According to the Beeb, the cunning plan is to use antenna-equipped aircraft powered by hydrogen to deliver high-speed connectivity to wide areas.

Stratospheric Platforms and Cambridge Consultants say they could cover the whole of the UK with about 60 drones.

Pilotless planes will fly at about 60,000ft up and provide a 5G signal to mobile devices

The Cambridge-based companies say they would run the service in partnership with existing mobile operators.

They are already backed by Deutsche Telekom, which hopes to trial the technology in rural southern Germany in 2024.

Cambridge Consultants designed the antenna for the Stratospheric Platforms aircraft, which is designed to fly at an altitude of 20,000m (65,617ft).

They say they have successfully tested beaming a lower-bandwidth signal from a plane flying at a lower height.

But so far, the drone required is still on the drawing board and would need to be tested with a emission-free hydrogen fuel cell and 5G antenna on board.

Google, with its Project Loon, is running a similar project to bring wireless broadband to remote places using solar-powered high altitude balloons.

But the chief executive of Stratospheric Platforms says using hydrogen fuel cells is a superior solution.

"This is a very high-density energy source, which enables us to produce a huge amount of power for long periods of time", said Richard Deakin.

He adds that each drone would cover an area of 140km (87 miles) in diameter below.

And users would get download speeds of about 100Mbps - allowing them to download a typical four-gigabyte movie in under six minutes.


Last modified on 04 November 2020
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