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Bandwidth Bonanza by Balloon?!

By Wayan Vota on June 23, 2009

Here is a creative way to improve Internet access in West Africa: balloon-based wireless broadband Internet routers.

Internet access via balloon

The US company Space Data, has developed high-altitude, balloon-borne transceivers using ever-shrinking electronics, industrial weather balloons, and Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) technology to park these satellite substitutes at an altitude between 80,000 and 100,000 feet to allow wireless Internet service to a broad swath of users below.

And according to Internet Evolution this system is coming to Nigeria thanks to Spaceloon:

Accountant Timothy Anyasi and petroleum engineer Collins Nwani, both Nigerian-born serial entrepreneurs based in the U.S., have secured exclusive rights to market a type of near-space technology — developed by American telecommunications company Space Data — throughout the African continent.

Anyasi and Nwani decided to move ahead with their marketing plans after Space Data secured a contract with the United States military in 2007 to field-test the technology in Iraq and Afghanistan. The partners will operate through a consortium that is now in the formation stages, which they call Spaceloon.

Balloon-based wireless Internet is an intriguing concept, especially if the NOC ground stations can take advantage of lower bandwidth prices in Benin, yet cover Nigeria. This approach could also be used to maintain service in places where terrestrial options are too expensive or restricted.

Filed Under: Connectivity
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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks and is the Digital Health Director at IntraHealth International. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of IntraHealth International or other ICTWorks sponsors.
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