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Broadband Blimp Research Nears End

Posted: 17th Jul, 2006 By: MarkJ
The CAPANINA project, which uses balloons, airships or unmanned solar-powered planes as high-altitude platforms (HAPs) to relay broadband wireless and optical communications, is due to finish its main research at the end of October:

The consortium behind the project will open York HAP Week, a conference from 23 to 27 October, which will showcase the applications of HAPs, as a springboard for future development in this new high-tech sector. The CAPANINA Final Exhibition will open the conference by highlighting the achievements of the project, which received funding from the EU under its Broadband-for-All, FP6 programme.

The consortium, drawn from Europe and Japan, has demonstrated how the system could bring low-cost broadband connections to remote areas and even to high-speed trains. It promises data rates 2,000 times faster than via a traditional modem and 100 times faster than today's 'wired' ADSL broadband.

The final experimental flight will use a US-built Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and will take place in Arizona days before the York HAPs Week conference at the city’s historic King’s Manor.

Following the CAPANINA event, a HAP Application Symposium led by Dr Jorge Pereira, of the Information Society and Media Directorate-General of the European Commission, will provide a forum for leading experts to illustrate the potential of HAPs to opinion formers and telecommunications providers.

Completing the week, will be the first HAPCOS Workshop, featuring the work of leading researchers from around Europe. It will focus on wireless and optical communications from HAPs, as well as the critically important field of HAP vehicle development.

The CAPANINA and HAPCOS activities have helped to forge collaborative links with more than 25 countries, including many from Europe, as well as Japan, South Korea, China, Malaysia and USA. They are seeking to develop existing partnerships and forge new ones, with researchers, entrepreneurs, industry, governments as well as end users.


The CAPANINA project itself has been going for three years and is led by the University of York. More information on York HAP Week is at http://www.yorkhapweek.org .

It's an interesting idea, but we're still waiting to see whether or not it ever gets off the ground (*smug grin intended*).
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