Google linked to wireless balloon firm - Mobile World Live

Google linked to wireless balloon firm

06 NOV 2009

Google is considering working with, or buying, Space Data Corp, a company that provides wireless services via hot air balloons, according to the Wall Street Journal. Space Data currently launches 10 balloons a day across the Southern US, providing wireless coverage in rural areas or highways, notably to truckers and oil companies. The company says a single balloon costs only US$50 to make, soars 20 miles into the stratosphere and can service an area equivalent to 40 mobile phone towers. The transceivers attached to them cost US$1,500, but they parachute back to Earth once the balloon is out of service. A balloon usually lasts for about 24 hours before ultimately bursting in the air. Space Data hires mechanics employed at small airports, as well as farmers, to launch the balloons every morning.

According to the report, Google believes balloons like these could change the economics of offering mobile phone and Internet services in out-of-the way areas. Google is among the registered bidders in the country’s ongoing FCC 700MHz spectrum auction.


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