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This blimp startup is taking on Google’s and Facebook’s flying internet projects

This blimp startup is taking on Google’s and Facebook’s flying internet projects
[Photo: Altaeros Energies]

Millions and millions of people around the world have little or no access to good internet service. The reasons range from government instability to bad economies to challenging terrain. And that’s why there’s a boom in efforts to deliver internet connectivity from the skies.

The best known of those efforts are Facebook’s giant Aquila drone and Project Loon from Alphabet’s X. Now, there’s a new entrant–one with some impressive money behind it. According to Xconomy, Altaeros Energies, a Massachusetts startup, has closed a $7.5 million round of funding to develop a network of tethered blimps that provide connectivity. All told, Xconomy wrote, Altaeros has raised $20 million, with the latest funds coming from SoftBank Group.

It’s not clear which of these technologies will end up being the most successful, or serving the most people. What is clear is that the world needs more and better internet service, and if it has to come from above, then we need as many people working on the problem as possible.DT