UAV Provides Inexpensive Broadband Internet

Last week, the UN declared that Internet access is a basic human right. That is fine and well in an industrialized, densely-populated area, but what about the developing world and sparsely-populated regions?  How do you deliver blazing speed at a reasonable cost? The answer, as usual, is “drones”.


This patent application describes an apparatus carried by a UAV that focuses a radio beam on a specific area, connecting anyone in that area to the internet. That beam may be relatively small, but combine a few dozen beams and you have a modular, constant and fast connection at a relatively low cost.

As the application discloses, “satellite capacity has not been adequately provided in poorer regions of the world is the relatively high cost of satellite systems. Due to adverse atmospheric effects in satellite orbits, satellite hardware must be space qualified and is costly. Launch vehicles to put the satellites in orbit are also costly. Moreover, due to the launch risk and the high cost of satellites, there may be significant insurance costs for the satellite and the launch. Therefore, broadband satellite systems and services are relatively costly and difficult to justify, particularly in poorer regions of the world. It is also costly to deploy terrestrial systems such as fiber or microwave links in lightly populated regions. The small density of subscribers does not justify the deployment cost.”

To drastically reduce the costs, the patent application protects “systems and methods for optimally pointing the beams of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) toward a coverage area on the ground, and adjusting the beams toward the ground coverage area based on the UAV’s altitude, movements, and motions (such as roll/pitch).”

The apparatus ‘honey-combs’ the beams to create a shadow-free patch of pure internet goodness, providing that basic human necessity to the most remote or impoverished parts of the world.


The “Drone” of the present invention is not limited to any particular UAV, and can be “drones, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), balloons, blimps, airships, etc. The aerial platforms may comprise propulsion systems, fuel systems, and onboard navigational and control systems. In one exemplary embodiment, the aerial platform comprises a fixed wing fuselage in combination with a propeller, etc. In other embodiments, the aerial platform comprises a robocopter, propelled by a rotor. The aerial platform may carry fuel onboard or function using solar energy.”

Yes, it can even be solar-powered.

Claim 1 is well-drafted and should cover analogous inventions:

An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) apparatus configured to form antenna beams toward at least one target coverage cell, comprising:

  • an antenna fixture configured to form at least one beam;
  • a set of radio transmitters and receivers configured to transmit and receive signals to a set of ground terminals within the at least one target coverage cell;
  • a processor sub-system;
  • and a non-transitory computer readable medium comprising one or more instructions which, when executed by the processor sub-system, is configured to cause the UAV apparatus to:
  • generate at least one beam that covers the at least one target coverage cell;
  • and where the generated at least one beam encompasses at least one ground terminal of the set of ground terminals.



US Patent Application No: 20160112116

Filed (US): Mar. 21, 2014

Published: April 21, 2016

Applicant: Ubiqomm LLC, San Diego, CA