Google plans 'wireless balloons' to spread the Internet

Is it just a lot of hot air?

Google aims to help wire the world by bringing the Internet to a billion or more new people, including small villages and cities outside of major urban areas in Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa -- using special balloons to broadcast the wireless connection.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Google plans to team up with local telecommunications firms and equipment providers in the emerging markets to develop the networks, as well as create business models to support them, people familiar with the project said. The networks also could be used to improve Internet speeds in urban centers, the paper reported.

To speed the spread of the Internet in these areas, the company has worked on special blimps, called high-altitude platforms, to broadcast a signal over hundreds of square miles.

Google has also considered helping to create a satellite-based network.

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"There's not going to be one technology that will be the silver bullet," meaning that each market will require a unique solution, said one person familiar with Google's plans.

Read more on Google’s wacky Internet plans at The Wall Street Journal.