Google Balloon Network

Google is reportedly looking into investing in or buying a company called Space Data, which provides wireless voice and data services to remote areas with a fleet of weather balloons fitted with transceivers.

In the post Barcelona lull, the rumor mill has a tendency to grind away more that usual but there is one story that might turn out to be more than hot air.

Space Data’s business model is to provide low cost platforms for rural and remote data and voice communication applications via its high altitude SkySite network, which basically consists of an array of balloons equipped with a box of transceivers and other gadgets.

The company currently provides two way data coverage throughout Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana, as well as New Mexico, Arkansas and the Gulf of Mexico and plans to eventually provide service across the entire US. Because of their altitude, each balloon is capable of doing the job of around a dozen cellular towers.

Balloon-borne transceivers are launched every 8 to 12 hours and last for about 24 hours before bursting and floating gently back down to earth. Each box of tricks carries a $100 reward for whoever finds it and returns it safely.

So the word on the web is that Google, which has taken an interest in wireless services, sees the balloons as a way of expanding coverage out to remote areas. Some believe investment is on the cards, while others say the web giant will outright buy Space Data.