Internet giant Google is planning to spend over $1 billion on satellites that will bring Internet access to regions that still don’t have connectivity. The project is expected to start with 180 “small, high-capacity satellites” that will circle around the earth, according to a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report.
WSJ says, Google's drones will circle at a lower altitude that traditional ones. The projected price ranges of the project will be $1 billon to more than $3 billion depending on the network's final design. Google may later double the number of satellites, depending on the projects success.
Greg Wyler, founder of satellite-communications startup O3b Networks Ltd is leading Google's satellite venture. According to reports Google is also hiring engineers from satellite company Space Systems/Loral LLC to work on the project.
Google has earlier experimented with designing high-altitude helium balloons to provide broadband service to remote parts of the world. Recently, the internet giant acquired Titan Aerospace, which builds solar-powered drones to provide internet connectivity. A Google spokeswoman said the company is focused on bringing hundreds of millions of additional people online. "Internet connectivity significantly improves people's lives. Yet two thirds of the world have no access at all," she said.
Facebook has also been working on its own satellites, drones and lasers to bring internet to remote parts of the world. Facebook has hired aerospace and communications experts from NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab and its Ames Research Center for its new "Connectivity Lab" project. Both the companies intend to bring more people online and ultimately gain more users who can bring in new revenue sources.