Feeds

US broadband blimp test flight planned next month

Georgia Stratellites

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Way back in September 1998, we reported on a plan to provide cities with blanket wireless data coverage using base-stations mounted on cheap aeroplane rather than expensive satellites.

Broadband blimps and planesThe company behind the scheme, St. Louis, Missouri-based Angel Technologies, calls the system Halo, and has been quietly developing the system ever since the test flights it made in late 1998. So far it has yet to roll the service out commercially, though the company has managed to break a few world records for high-altitude flight.

Now it has a rival. Atlanta, Georgia-based Sanswire Networks will next month launch a base-station suspended beneath an 75m unmanned airship which will float around 20km (13 miles) up in the air, kept in place by ground-control and a GPS fix. Angel's Halo planes will fly at around 16km (10 miles).

Again, the idea is to provide users with a variety of mobile data services. Like Angel, Sanswire is pitching the scheme as a way of providing not only a cheaper service than satellite-based alternatives can offer, but one that yields a stronger signal, enabling smaller, lower power end-user equipment.

Of course, mast-mounted transmitters are better still on that score, but Angel and Sanswire can offer a much wider coverage from one aircraft than one tower can. They can also reach areas where it may be uneconomical to install masts, whether for geographical reasons, local objections or citing regulations.

Sanswire claims its 'stratellite' blimps will provide a coverage area of up to 300,000 square miles, as does Angel. Both companies are also alike in being unwilling to say when they will be able to offer commercial wireless services. To be fair, it could be some way off, and since many similarly grandiose ventures have missed targets and plans, they're probably right to be circumspect for now.

Having missed its original January 2004 launch target, UK broadband-by-balloon operation SkyLinc is also keen to keep whatever targets it now has private for the time being. ®

Related stories

Internet access takes to the skies
Whatever happened to broadband by blimp?
Broadband by blimp idea floated
The balloon goes up on 300km Wi-Fi

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Net neutrality protestors slam the brakes on their OWN websites
Sites link up to protest slow lanes by bogging down pages
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Drag queens: Oh, don't be so bitchy, Facebook! Let us use our stage names
Handbags at dawn over free content ad network's ID policy
Who us, SHARE infrastructure? Networks reject gov proposal
Execs pour scorn on 'national roaming' outline – report
Net neutrality fans' joy as '2.3 million email' flood hits US Congress
FCC invites opinions in CSV format, after Slowdown day 'success'
'Serious flaws in the Vertigan report' says broadband boffin
Report 'fails reality test' , is 'simply wrong' and offers ''convenient' justification for FTTN says Rod Tucker
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
Apple Watch will CONQUER smartwatch world – analysts
After Applelocalypse, other wristputers will get stuck in
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.