Dirigible? Last Thursday's Economist [subscription required] reports on plans to launch the first in a fleet of these lighter-than-aircrafts next month. A pathetic attempt to plug the short-lived "SkyCaptain and the World of Tomorrow" before its DVD release? No, this is an effort to float yet another method for ubiquitous deployment of wireless broadband service, courtesy of Atlanta-based Sanswire (get it -- without wires?) Networks. The company hopes to lift wi-fi-like equipment up, up and away in their beautiful balloons, which will hover in the stratosphere (like really low geostationary satellites) to provide web-surfers in large areas below broadband Internet access. It remains unclear whether the "strattelites" will, as some speculate, create additional "last mile" alternatives to cable modem and DSL providers or offer a cheaper way to get broadband to poor countries with few wires in the ground. But it does suggest that competitive pressures to invest in additional broadband networks persist. No word yet whether future launches will keep the birds aloft using hot air recycled from Washington, DC, rather than helium.