January 31, 2006

Full of hot air

Okay, it's actually hydrogen or helium, but lofting balloons with wireless repeaters for cell phone coverage, instead of traditional towers, is a pretty cool idea. Excerpt:

Extend America and Chandler, Ariz.-based Space Data Corp. are developing the technology, which is believed to be the first to use disposable balloons to provide cellular coverage.

A trial balloon will be launched in the next few weeks to test the idea, said Schafer, who left office in 2000 after eight years as governor.

"To cover every square mile of North Dakota, it would take 1,100 cell towers," Schafer said. "We can do the whole state with three balloons."

If successful, the hydrogen-filled balloons could be drifting across the stratosphere above North Dakota this summer, providing cellular coverage at a tiny fraction of the cost of building cellular towers.

Nifty idea. Cheap, too.

Update: John Cole notices something that I missed. Excerpt:

While it is interesting, I am posting this simply because it amuses me that for the first time I remember, a story refers to a trial balloon that actually is a TRIAL BALLOON.

I am easily amused.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 11:48 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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1 Well, as long as the transmitters float, they could REALLY be onto something here.

Posted by: Harvey at January 31, 2006 04:29 PM (ubhj8)

2 02 14 06 Well what about that Blimp back in the day? How do they ensure that solar flares or whatever else won't appreciably perturb the ballon orbits? And how do they minimize the fire risk? Dangerous but interesting technology.

Posted by: Mahndisa at February 14, 2006 05:56 AM (5RTUK)

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