Google is exploring all avenues in bringing Internet access to underserved countries and communities, with the search giant now reportedly mulling setting up a network of satellites to bring access to the world.
The Wall Street Journal quotes sources saying that Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) is planning to spend between $1 billion and $3 billion ringing the world with 180 or more small, low-orbit satellites.
The project is being led by Greg Wyler, founder of satellite startup O3b Networks Ltd., who recently joined Google with O3b's former chief technology officer, the WSJ reports.
Google is already examining other methods of bringing the Internet cheaply to areas that are hard to wire up or serve with traditional mobile connections. It has "Project Loon," an attempt to use high-altitude balloons to provide wireless connectivity from the sky. In April, Google acquired Titan Aerospace, which is building solar-powered drones to provide similar connectivity. (See Broadband: It's All Hot Air for Google.)
Both Google and Facebook are exploring new methods of delivering the Internet to new users in under-developed markets. The logic behind some of these whacky-seeming projects is that these companies will feel the bottom-line benefit -- from ad-serving revenue -- if they can get Internet access to into the hands of more of the world's population.
mhhf1ve, User Rank: Light Sabre 6/4/2014 | 5:40:27 PM
What spectrum does Google own? The wireless spectrum forProject Loon isn't well-suited for covering vast areas, but then the balloons are going to cover vast areas, either. But for LEO satellites, won't google need to have some decent part of the radio spectrum to send its signals?
R Clark, User Rank: Blogger 6/4/2014 | 11:14:35 AM
Re: Where MS failed Such a huge failure rate on those global satellite projects of the late 90s. Microsoft was an early investor in Teledesic, which merged with ICO, which only launched one satellite and successfully sued Boeing for fraud.
Iridium cost $7bn, most of it borne by Motorola It sold the business off for just $25m.
Google's satellite project seems more focused. It's not trying to cover the world, just provide in-fill coverage in developing markets.
sam masud, User Rank: Light Sabre 6/3/2014 | 1:30:09 PM
Where MS failed If I remember right, quite a few years back Microsoft was talking about launching hundredss of low earth orbiting satellites to make broadband access ubiquitous. And MS wasn't the only one. Who knows, maybe Google can succeed where others failed.
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