Google Goes Ballooning

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The Wall Street Journal's Amol Sharma today broke the news that Google is considering deploying wireless Internet via balloon, through a possible partnership with (or even an outright purchase of) Space Data Corp., which deploys balloons that support communication services for truckers and oil companies.

"About 36% of rural Americans don't have Internet connections," Sharma writes. "The problem is that it's expensive to string cable or build cellphone towers in areas with so few customers. Space Data says a single balloon can serve an area otherwise requiring 40 cell towers."

"And as a BusinessWeek article from last month revealed, Space Data believes it can cover the whole country with a WiMax broadband network with just 370 balloons," writes Gizmodo's Sean Fallon. "Compare that with the 22,000 or so towers that would be necessary using traditional methods. It may be non-traditional but it is a dammed good idea. My mind has just been blown."

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