Monday, January 30, 2006

Companies to test balloons for cellular service

The San Jose Mercury News picks up an Associated Press article about a plan in North Dakota to "loft wireless network repeaters on balloons high above the state to fill gaps in cellular coverage."

According to the article, "Extend America and Space Data Corp. are developing the technology, which is believed to be the first to use disposable balloons to provide cellular coverage."

Former North Dakota Governor and now CEO Extend America, Ed Schafer, claimed that "To cover every square mile of North Dakota, it would take 1,100 cell towers. We can do the whole state with three balloons."

Weston Henderek at Current Analysis said, "It's difficult to say whether it's a pie-in-the-sky idea or if it will actually work. It's one of those cutting-edge type of things that people are starting to look at. It will be interesting to see how the testing pans out."