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Altaeros Unveils 'SuperTower' to Help MNOs Deploy LTE in Rural Areas using Tethered Aerostats

7 months ago
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Altaeros Unveils 'SuperTower' to Help MNOs Deploy LTE in Rural Areas using Tethered Aerostats Image Credit: Ericsson

Boston-based startup Altaeros has demonstrated a new “SuperTower” to help operators deploy LTE in hard-to-reach rural communities using tethered aerostats, the industrial versions of blimps.

Altaeros partnered with Ericsson to successfully deploy an multi-sector LTE base station on a SuperTower in late 2017 in rural Maine, the northeasternmost U.S. state, providing broadband speeds with streaming video. 

According to Altaeros, rural markets like Maine are ideal for operators to deploy SuperTowers which float at heights six to eight times higher than most cell towers, offer greater flexibility for site placement, cost up to 70 percent less to roll out, provide coverage equivalent to a network of 30 conventional cell towers and have less impact on the environment.

Altaeros said it developed the SuperTower to offer operators a new infrastructure option that provides the broad coverage advantages of satellites and aerial platforms, while seamlessly integrating with existing handsets by using the same radios, antennas and permitting processes as standard towers.

The offering utilizes Altaeros’ proprietary tethered aerostat design and automation technology as a platform for Ericsson’s 5G-ready high-performance radio system with MIMO (multiple-input and multiple-output) capable radios.

SuperTowers can also be deployed for temporary disaster relief or special events. They will be available to operators in late 2018.

Ben Glass, CEO and CTO, Altaeros
People living in rural areas often have limited or no access to high-speed broadband. With Ericsson’s innovative radio technology installed on the SuperTower, we aim to change that and help provide these consumers access to the benefits of affordable broadband, such as health care, education, and economic growth.

Amy McCune, Head of Customer Unit Regional Carriers, Ericsson North America 
The SuperTowers are an innovative way to allow operators to offer high-speed broadband to underserved rural areas via next-generation LTE technology. The platform also establishes the groundwork for them to evolve their rural networks to 5G in the future.

Ray is a news editor at The Fast Mode, bringing with him more than 10 years of experience in the wireless industry.

For tips and feedback, email Ray at ray.sharma(at)thefastmode.com, or reach him on LinkedIn @raysharma10, Facebook @1RaySharma

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