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The term “Digital Divide” is often used in our discussions. It means that the world is divided into two portions: One portion is that which has full access to the modern age ICTs and the second portion is fully deprived from the countless benefits of all such technologies and developments.

There are actually two main aspects which drive the development of new technologies and services. First one is the Humanitarian aspect: Which means that all people across the globe should have universal access to information infrastructures irrespective of their nationalities, language, geographic locations etc.

The second aspect is the Economic one. As we know that wealthy/ developed markets are already saturated and to keep the business running there is a dire need for new services, technologies and markets. One such new promising technology is “Stratospheric Radio” or HAPS (High Altitude Platform Station).

The HAPS operate at a distance of approximately 20 Km above the earth. This is an important question that why we select the height of around 20 Km. So the answer to this question is that at this height the Wind speed is almost zero or negligible.

The HAPS have the following definition in the Radio Regulations:

RR No. 1.66A: A station located on an object at an altitude of 20 to 50 km and at a specified, nominal, fixed point relative to the Earth.

RR No. 4.15A: Transmissions to or from high altitude platform stations shall be limited to bands specifically identified in Article 5.

HAPS combines best features of Satellite and Terrestrial Systems. It has Short Round Trip Delay (RTD) as compared to satellite communications. Similarly, small propagation loss when compared to satellite. One HAPS can cover quite large areas when compared to terrestrial station. In addition to that HAPS offers environmental friendly solutions. Re-Use is possible in HAPS offering large capacity.

Provision for HAPS was initially given by WRC-97 as fixed service. This decision has removed obstacles/ uncertainties in financing the development of this new technology. During WRC 2000, several countries in Region 3 and one country in Region 1 expressed a need for a lower frequency band for HAPS due to the excessive rain attenuation that occurs at 47 GHz in these countries. Similar request was made by countries in Region-2 as well.

In order to accommodate the need expressed by the countries referred above, WRC 2000 adopted Nos. 5.537A and 5.543A, which were modified at WRC 03 and then again at WRC 07 to permit the use of HAPS in the fixed service in the band 27.9-28.2 GHz and in the band 31-31.3 GHz in certain Region 1 and 3 countries on a non-harmful interference, non protection basis.

WRC 03 amended No. 5.543A to specify signal levels that would protect satellite passive services and radio astronomy stations in the band 31.3-31.8 GHz. ITU R has conducted studies dealing with sharing between systems using HAPS in the fixed service and other types of systems in the fixed service in the bands 27.9-28.2 GHz and 31-31.3 GHz leading to Recommendation ITU R F.1609.

The administrations listed in Nos. 5.537A and 5.543A which intend to implement systems using HAPS in the fixed service in the bands 27.9-28.2 GHz and 31-31.3 GHz shall seek explicit agreement of concerned administrations with regard to their stations of primary services to ensure that the conditions in Nos 5.537A and 5.543A are met, and those administrations in Region 2 which intend to implement systems using HAPS in the fixed service in these bands shall seek explicit agreement of concerned administrations with regard to their stations of services operating in accordance with the Table of Frequency Allocations of Article 5 to ensure that the conditions in resolves 1 and resolves 3 are met

The bands 1 885-2 025 MHz and 2 110-2 200 MHz are identified in No. 5.388 as intended for use on a worldwide basis for IMT, including the bands 1 980-2 010 MHz and 2 170-2 200 MHz for the terrestrial and satellite components of IMT.

The use of HAPS as base stations within the terrestrial component of IMT is optional for administrations, and that such use should not have any priority over other terrestrial IMT use.

These bands are allocated to the fixed and mobile services on a co-primary basis.

ITU R has studied sharing and coordination between HAPS and other stations within IMT, has considered compatibility of HAPS within IMT with some services having allocations in the adjacent bands, and has approved Recommendation ITU R M.1456.

QUCOMHAPS LTD is a company based in the Republic of Ireland. The core service is to provide a Service Delivery Platform. Commercially this is also known as the ‘QucomHaps Communications Platform’. Fundamentally, this platform is a High Altitude Platform Stations (“HAPS”) service using a piloted M55 high altitude aircraft flying in a circular corridor at an altitude of approximately 20 km. To date, this platform offers THE ONE AND ONLY commercial HAPS service to the world.