It seems that lots of folks have come up with the idea of providing wireless broadband connectivity by employing some form of floating air ship that covers a wide area. What's amusing to me, though, is that every time someone comes up with such a plan, they come up with a different name to call it. First, there were the stratelites, which were floating blimps that would provide satellite style wireless broadband from a lower altitude. Then, there were the aerostats, which would float high up in the air, but were still tethered to the ground. The tether would be a fiber optic cable, which would provide the backhaul connection. Now, the latest plan calls them "HAPs" for "high-altitude platforms", and this plan comes from a consortium of communications companies and research institutes who have been given a little bit of money. Of course, there are still a ton of technical and business model questions to be answered - so chances are there will be a few more iterations with a few more new names before anyone is actually using such a system.
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