Japan service provider experimenting with blimp-based emergency cellular coverage

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Softbank, which is responsible for Japan’s third-largest cellular network, is exploring the usage of antennae-wielding blimps to provide emergency cellular coverage in disaster areas.

The company has said that they will use blimps filled with helium and suspended at a height of about 100 metres to deploy a radius about three kilometres worth of coverage. The blimps would support two antennae, one for cellular phones and the other to communicate with a portable cellular tower that would be connected to the unaffected part of the main cellular network. Experiments on the feasibility of the plan are expected to carry on till June 2013.

The idea is to quickly reinstate communication in areas that have been hit by natural disasters like last year’s earthquake and tsunami. The blimps themselves have been developed by Softbank in conjunction with Hokkaido University.

Source: PC World

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