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Weather Balloons May Bring Rural Cellular Service

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Feb 19, 2002, 11:18 AM   by (staff)

Space Data Corp. demonstrated its SkySite concept last week at the IDG DEMO 2002 conference in Phoenix. The system uses lightweight wireless communications equipment attached to weather ballons. The balloons are already launched daily by the National Weather Service. The system would relay voice and data signals to remote areas at a fraction of the cost of installing cell towers or launching satellites, company officials say. Space Data has not yet finalized negotiations with the National Weather Service, and it has not yet completed any agreements with wireless carriers, but the company hopes to begin commercial service in the southwestern United States in 2003.

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