A Swiss inventor says some sort of zeppelins could replace all of the terrestrial mobile phone antennas in Switzerland and other countries too.
Should Kamal Alavi's project for the high-tech airship take wing, the worlds of mobile telephony and data transmission would be turned on their heads.
Not only would the technology, called High Altitude Platform Systems (Haps), make the current 1,000 earth-bound antennas redundant, it would drastically reduce radiation.
A Swiss of Iranian extraction, Alavi is a former aerospace engineer turned entrepreneur who heads his own firm, Stratxx. Together with a team of 50 scientists, he is preparing a 2007 test run of the airship, which he has named the "X station".
Thanks to a GPS steering system developed by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, the 60-meter long helium-filled balloon will remain stationary at 21 kilometres above the earth.
The scientists claims about 20 of these zeppelins would be necessary to cover Europe. More details at Swiss Info.