Google investing $1bn in satellite internet
Google is planning to cover the world with internet access using $1 billion worth of satellites, according to reports.
Google will start with 180 small satellites, expanding the programme if it works, according to unnamed sources speaking to the Wall Street Journal.
The project could cost Google as much as $3 billion, the report said, depending on how many satellites it requires.
It’s not the first attempt by Google to extend internet coverage, as it looks to expand its user base by getting more people online in developing nations and remote areas.
Google hasn’t confirmed the report, but has been working on new ways to deliver internet unconnected areas, including using drones – an idea also being considered by Facebook – and high-altitude balloons, via the aptly-named Project Loon.
Tech site The Information reported that Google had poached staff from O3b and Space Systems, a pair of satellite internet firms.
O3b launched four medium-earth orbit satellites in June 2013, with another four launching this summer, offering coverage to 70% of the world’s population. The company claims 1.6Gbit/sec throughput and “fibre-like latency”. Space Systems, meanwhile, has been launching communications satellites since 1960.