Led by Greg Wyler, founder of O3b Networks, Google’s plans to increase Internet access through satellites surge forward. In order to reach unwired regions, Google plans to spend an estimated $1 billion to $3 billion on a fleet of satellites. The project is expected to begin with 180 small, high-capacity satellites orbiting the earth at lower altitudes than traditional satellites. Both Google and Facebook are looking to increase revenue and earnings, and have pinpointed users in these remote regions to do so.
“Internet connectivity significantly improves people’s lives. Yet two thirds of the world have no access at all,” explained a Google spokeswoman.
Project Loon, another Google initiative, is designing high-altitude balloons to boost the reach of broadband service. Google is also building solar-powered drones with the recently acquired Titan Aerospace.
Google CEO Larry Page spoke about Project Loon: “I think we can build a world-wide mesh of these balloons that can cover the whole planet.”
According to The Wall Street Journal, he also explained that although satellites are more flexible and provide greater capacity, the balloons are cheaper and faster to launch.