EE to reach remote areas with balloon technology

EE, Helikite, Balloon, Drone, Technology

Photograph: EE


Last week, EE showcased a ‘balloon’ that will be used to provide network services to remote areas of the UK.

EE Helikite launch

Speaking from London’s Oval Cricket Ground, CEO Marc Allera showcased the balloon – a Helikite (shown above), equipped with it’s own mobile platform. The mobile site will allow the network to beam into a direct area below, providing coverage for communities experiencing outages.

Most of all, the development highlights the networks commitment to providing service to remote areas of the UK. Although the Helikite will not be a permanent solution to rural network issues, it will provide a reliable service in the event of natural disasters. With a radius of up to 5km, Allera envisions the Helikite being used to support users at high-capacity events, such as Glastonbury:

“Looking ahead, I see innovations like this revolutionising the way people connect. We’re developing the concept of ‘coverage on demand’. What if an event organiser could request a temporary EE capacity increase in a rural area, or a climber going up Ben Nevis could order an EE aerial coverage solution to follow them as they climb?”

EE plans to deploy the Helikite later this year. View the full announcement here.

Emergency Services

In addition to the Helikite, the network exhibited an exclusive drone that will provide emergency support.

Working in the same way as the balloon, the drone provides direct broadband and network to a close proximity area. Although the drone is only able to stay airborne for around two hours, it benefits users with a short 3-minute set up time.  As a result, the network will be able to react quickly to reported issues and damaged infrastructure.

Above this, the drones will supply emergency network to remote areas during search and rescue operations and also, in the wake of extreme weather, such as flooding.

Head to EE where you can view all the images from the launch.

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