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Not Content With Balloons, Google Plans to Use Satellites to Expand Internet Access Around the Globe

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Not content with hot air balloons, Google has its sights on higher-flying objects. According to The Wall Street Journal, the search giant plans to spend between $1-3 billion constructing a fleet of satellites to provide internet access to people in remote areas of the world.

The report says Google will begin with a small fleet, but the company’s endgame is to blanket the sky with cheaper, lightweight (less than 250 pounds) satellites that would beam internet access to inexpensive ground antennas.

The effort is being spearheaded by Greg Wyler, founder of the engineering startup O3b Networks Ltd. He and O3b’s chief networking officer recently joined Google, along with several employees from satellite company Space Systems/Loral LLC. In all, the WSJ‘s sources say about 15 people are working on the project.

Other companies have pursued similar strategies without much success. A Microsoft-backed effort ballooned to $9 billion and faced regulatory and technical hurdles impossible to overcome. Satellite internet provider Iridium Satellite LLC entered bankrupty less than a year after it began offering service to customers.

WSJ spoke with a consultant who said the cost of satellites has dropped in recent years, who estimated Google could launch 180 satellites for as little as $600 million, but the plan is still at risk of cost overrun.

Luckily, satellites are only one of many ways Google intends to spread internet around the globe. Many speculate the company’s acquisition of aeronautics company Titan Aerospace two months ago will lead to the replacement of Project Loon’s balloons with solar-powered, internet-deploying drones.

Don’t be surprised if a Google satellite passes over your hometown one day.

Via: WSJ
  • Harry balls

    They’ll have to turn to India or China for the boosters cause we don’t do much of that in the old USA anymore, thanks to our wonderful president….

    • michael arazan

      Space X, is contracted with NASA now and just released a new 7 man capsule, they also used Dragon for unmanned resupply capsules already, all American baby

  • antwonw

    Skynet here we come.

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    • http://www.ytmnd.com MH

      Google now isnt far from being self aware….

  • http://www.deathbycone.com Jared Kotoff

    Satellites, aka Space Balloons.

  • Google_Everywhere

    Good.
    SpaceNet?

  • Ray

    Didn’t some company try this already and got shut down because the frequencies messed with gps signals

    • Cowboydroid

      That was the assertion. Whether it was a valid argument or not is still very much debatable. The whole situation stunk of corruption.

      • Ray

        Yep i don’t know the technical details but it surely smelled like BS

    • Blue Sun

      I believe it was MSV (the company changed their name to SkyTerra, then LightSquared).