We are very lucky nowadays to have amazing cellphones with 4G LTE connectivity and great voice clarity. Sadly though much of the world: approximately 4 billion people don’t have reliable internet access and of that 4 billion, 1.6 billion lack voice service. The main reason for this is the lack of cell towers. These towers are simply too expensive to constuct for many areas and have limited range.
Many companies are looking at a unique idea to solve this problem that comes from a technology that’s 200+ years old, blimps. One of those companies Altaeros, is launching a fleet of what they are calling “SuperTower” blimps that offer 4G LTE or 5G connectivity. The SuperTower’s will use tethers (which include the power connections and fiber optics), that allows the blimp to be raised or lowered to a ground station at any time. This is how the blimp will be recharged, as well as, give access to the payload so that it can be serviced or changed.
When compared to traditional cell towers, blimps offer a few key advantages. One is, they don’t require special buildings to house all the receivers, transmitters, and electrical equipment because all the technology is high above in the blimps gondola. Blimps offers such a wide range of cell and internet coverage because they can reach a much higher altitude than traditional towers, giving them a larger radius. Lastly there is no need for a ground crew except for upkeep; the blimp can be controlled autonomously without anybody on site.
As our connectivity needs grow and with the 5G era right around the corner, we could be seeing cell blimps poping up very soon.