The LiftPort Group, best known for wanting to build a massive space elevator before 2020, is currently doing research to see if a balloon-based platform can be used as a way to get wireless internet access in remote areas or areas struck by natural disasters.
The two-month test started after the Federal Aviation Administration gave the company a waiver for a test on western Washington's Kitsap Peninsula. A cluster of three balloons was raised to 150-feet so that it can be prepared with lights so it is able to reach an elevation of 300 to 500 feet.
Assuming that the service works out, the company may be able to offer $20 per month broadband access to consumers that are only able to get dial-up service. The company already has Lightspeed Broadband, a wireless Internet access provider, interested in the service. Since LiftPort does not currently have a constant revenue stream -- space elevators are not exactly in high demand yet -- offering an Internet service could prove to be lucrative.