Reading-based drone technology firm Altitude Angel, the team behind the Project Skyway development, has signed a £5 million deal with BT’s digital division Etc.

The funding will help support the scheme, a drone superhighway network, creating a 165-mile drone corridor over Reading, Oxford, Milton Keynes, Cambridge, Coventry, and Rugby, by funding the ARROW technology which underpins the scheme.

Drone deliveries will assist numerous industries as well as supporting emergency services in search and rescue, transporting medical supplies, farming analysis and architectural planning.

Project Skyway, already supported by the Government’s Future Flight programme, will use BT’s existing infrastructure and BT will act as a reseller of Altitude Angel software.

Richard Parker, chief executive and founder of Altitude Angel, said: “With BT Group, Altitude Angel has a partner which shares its ambition to make automated commercial drone operations at scale in the UK a day-to-day reality. Combining our ARROW technology, which allows crewed and un-crewed aircraft to share the same skies, safely and securely, with BT Group’s significant communications infrastructure, we can quickly bring ARROW to the masses.

“This will provide the UK with the first nationwide drone superhighways, unlocking the potential of this new and innovative technology and revolutionising business operations in countless industries.”

Tom Guy, managing director of Etc. for BT Group, said, “At Etc., we support businesses like Altitude Angel, who have game changing ideas that benefit from BT Group’s scale and our agile approach to growth. This partnership is a natural extension to BT Group’s work building the leading network in the UK, supporting the unified traffic management  industry that sits adjacent to our core business.

“This deal also brings with it a stake in Altitude Angel, arguably the UK’s leading voice in the development of the drone and air-mobility airspace industry. Together we bring unparalleled drone solutions to market, underpinned by digital innovation and our network strength, as we open the skies to solve genuine consumer and business needs.”

BT Group director of drones David Pankhurst will sit on the Altitude Angel board as a result of the deal.

© Thames Tap (powered by

Sign up to receive our weekly free journal, The Forum here.