Altaeros Energies is testing a blimp that will bring wireless broadband coverage to rural and remote areas.

The company, based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is constructing a research and development center in Fremont, Mass.

Altaeros Energies blimp

Altaeros, Somerville, Mass., has been given town approval to create the permanent test site that will include a concrete launch pad and a hangar to house the aerostat.

The tethered aerial cell tower, called an aerostat, will provide the same coverage as a network of cell towers. One blimp could eliminate the need for 20 to 30 conventional towers and reduce total network costs by 50 to 70 percent, the company said.

The aerostat uses helium gas to float and is connected to a stationary ground system.

Rubb Building Systems of Sanford, Maine, is constructing the 75- by 151-foot hangar. Blimps will have a maximum altitude of 850 feet.

Scott Dyer is site operations manager for Rubb.