Altaeros launches a new tethered aerial infrastructure product to deliver high-speed broadband in hard-to-reach rural communities

FEBRUARY 15, 2018: 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 (NASDAQ: ERIC) to successfully deploy a multi-sector LTE base station on a SuperTower in late 2017 in rural Maine, providing broadband speeds with streaming video.

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 15 conventional cell towers and have less impact on the environment.

The Altaeros SuperTower flying over New Hampshire
An Altaeros ST-200 in flight

Ben Glass, CEO/CTO of Altaeros says, “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.”

Altaeros 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.

Amy McCune, Head of Customer Unit Regional Carriers for Ericsson North America says, “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.”

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


A photo of the SuperTower from above taken with a drone

About Altaeros: Altaeros’ mission is to connect people, machines, and data, no matter where they happen to be located. Founded at MIT in 2010, we are focused on developing and deploying innovative real-world aerial infrastructure solutions to solve the most difficult infrastructure challenges. Altaeros is headquartered in Somerville, MA, and is backed by SoftBank, SPARX Group, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Suhail Bahwan Group, and others.
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Press Contact:

Elise Gianattasio