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Google Wants to Use Gblimps to Provide Wifi in Africa

Gone are the days when blimps were good for advertising at major sporting events. They’ll still do that but Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) has other plans. According to The Wall Street Journal, Google plans to use blimps not only to display adwords ads in major cities, but more important, it will deploy an army of gBlimps to rural communities in South Africa to provide Wifi service.

These towns, most of which have no internet connectivity will be able to access the internet from a signal that Google believes will reach hundreds of square miles.

Key to this strategy is to use some of the white space network–unused channels in the broadcast TV spectrum.

In March, Google announced that it would trial the service using 10 schools in the Cape Town, South Africa area. These schools will receive wireless access through the white space network.

As with most Google services, gblimps is in beta testing mode. For Google, that translates to, “if something goes wrong, that’s ok, we’re just testing it.” To test the blimps and get the word out about what will surely become a higher priced advertising option, you can sign up to have your adwords ad displayed for free on one of its blimps although the company doesn’t guarantee that the ad will appear.

gblimps could be an interesting evolution in advertising for a company looking to offer a unique service that other online ad suppliers are not.

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