Alternative broadband delivery systems
March 19, 2001 8:03 AM   Subscribe

Alternative broadband delivery systems So now that all the DSL providers are going bankrupt, and the cable modem providers can't meet the demand, scheming entrepeneurs are looking for other ways to bring broadband to you. The guy with the plan for the hi-altitude airplanes sounds like he escaped from some lame-brained dot-com.
posted by briank (5 comments total)
Sorry for the NYT link; maybe someone will post a mirror link that doesn't ask for the registration.
posted by briank at 8:04 AM on March 19, 2001

Odd as it may sound, there's another company exploring 'atmospheric satellites' which seem much more feasible. No jet fuel, no pilots... much better plan it seems to me...
posted by daver at 9:55 AM on March 19, 2001

Angel Technologies isn't a flash in the pan. The Proteus aircraft are being developed by Scaled Composites, the aerospace firm of Dick Rutan, and are direct technological descendants of his extended-flight (around the world without landing) Voyager. [Rutan is also considered a safe bet to win the X-Prize if he orbits 3 astronauts aboard a private craft.] The benefit here is that this is eminently adaptable to changing technology. Need more bandwidth? Need to change out a repeater? Land the plane. A satellite, on the other hand, requires years of planning, design, launch insurance, and isn't economic unless you can see it in continuous use for at least five years.

Of course, this has limitations, too: it's probably not economic for anything but large cities, and there are safety issues.
posted by dhartung at 1:59 PM on March 19, 2001

I seem to recall a plan from the early days of broadcasting to do the same thing for public television in rural states -- fly an airplane in a big circle over the state, passing over the various small towns and broadcasting educational programming during the time the plane was within range of the town's reception towers.

Similarly, there were plans to use fixed dirigibles for several different transmission schemes in the early days of radio.

I don't see many TV planes or radio blimps, so regardless of Dick Rutan's pedigree, it just doesn't seem like a likely solution.
posted by briank at 6:16 PM on March 19, 2001

So now that all the DSL providers are going bankrupt


Don't mind me, I work for an evil ILEC. Wah ha ha!
posted by ethmar at 8:20 AM on March 20, 2001

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