As reported by the AP, Extend America and Space Data Corp have plans to blanket rural areas with cellular coverage using hydrogen filled disposable balloons. Providers may be able to save hundreds of thousands of dollars on infrastructure if the experiment goes well. The upside for the consumer is cheaper and more easily accessible cell coverage. I would imagine that this model could be adjusted for other data services like wireless broadband access. Let's all cross our fingers.
Test Balloons for Cellular Service-Yahoo! News [Via Engadget]
"To cover every square mile of North Dakota, it would take 1,100 cell towers," Schafer said. "We can do the whole state with three balloons."