An anonymous reader writes "Two African entrepreneurs have secured exclusive access to market near-space technology — developed by Space Data, an American telecommunications company — throughout Africa. The technology raises hydrogen-filled weather balloons to 80,000 — 100,000 feet, which individuals contact via modems. The balloons, in turn, serve as satellite substitutes which can connect Africans to broadband Internet. 'Network operation centers are located close to a fiber optic cable — say, in Lagos or Accra — and a signal is sent back and forth to the [balloon] in near space,' says one of the entrepreneurs, Timothy Anyasi. The technology will also allow mobile phone operators to offer wireless modems to customers."