HAPS research updated
Sep 16, 2022 by Jonathan Watson


Google may have given up on Loon, but there is still plenty more to come from high-altitude platform stations (HAPS).

WRC-19 defined operational characteristics and spectrum bands for HAPs, and a number of countries proposed similar regulatory visibility for platforms referred to as HIBs, high-altitude International Mobile Telecommunications base stations.

The proposal at WRC-23 (agenda item 1.4) is for the use of an airborne physical platform, similar to a HAP (at altitudes of between 20 and 50 km), but which would make use of IMT (mobile) frequencies below 2.7 GHz. This would boost mobile connectivity, mainly in areas where coverage is limited. The use of a mobile base station at those altitudes could enable much broader coverage and the platform could be flown into remote areas with little infrastructure. The agenda item currently covers technical studies in the 694—960 MHz, 1710—1885 MHz and 2500—2690 MHz bands.

HAPS trials and experiments have also used unlicensed spectrum resources (typically in the ISM 2.4 and 5.8 GHz bands), lightly licensed spectrum such as the E-band (71—76 GHz and 81—86 GHz) and licensed mobile spectrum. According to the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance, the E-band is a good fit.

In the US, the regulator is proposing to modernise and expand access to the 70/80/90 GHz Bands to address the possible use of the 71—76 GHz, 81-86 GHz, 92-94 GHz and 94.1—95 GHz (70/80/90 GHz) bands to provide broadband Internet access, including services on ships, aircraft, and other methods of transport.

You can read about all this and more in our updated research on HAPS, now available exclusively to Spectrum Research Service subscribers.