Google investing $1bn to bring Internet worldwide via 180 satellites

Google has been experimenting with ways to bring the Internet to the world. They started with Project Loon and have continued with their newest venture to bring Internet access to unconnected areas via satellites.

The new project will be an extension of Project Loon, which uses high flying balloons to carry Internet signal across the 40th parallel of the southern hemisphere. The project will be launching 180 high capacity low-orbiting satellites across the world, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. Greg Wyler, satellite communications expert and founder of O3b Networks is said to be leading the project.

A Google spokesperson told The Guardian:

Internet connectivity significantly improves people's lives. Yet two thirds of the world have no access at all, It's why we're so focused on new technologies—from Project Loon to Titan Aerospace—that have the potential to bring hundreds of millions more people online in the coming years.

Facebook has also been attempting to bring Internet access to the unconnected with its Connectivity Lab to directly compete with Project Loon. They purchased Ascenta, the solar-powered drone designer, to be the backbone of their internet.org plan. Mark Zuckerburg stated that they plan to “beam Internet to people from the sky.”​

Although both of the companies will have to go through regulatory procedures, it will be interesting to see if this new satellite project will lift off.

Source: The Wall Street Journal via The Guardian | Image via Shutterstock

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This is probably not to replace regular broadband providers. I can't be sure but it will probably be modest speed, high latency Internet. A low quality access yet available to all, cheap or free.

Isn't one of the biggest issues with satellite internet the high latency (not to mention being interrupted by the weather)? Also add the ridiculously high costs with the currently available options. If I can't play multiplayer on xbox live with it, it does me no good.

IceBreakerG said,
If I can't play multiplayer on xbox live with it, it does me no good.

I kinda doubt this is aimed at people who play games.

Right now my only option is the 6Mbps DSL connection I have because comcast "has no plans" to bring service to my neighborhood, and I'm too far from the VRAD for u-verse. My options currently suck at the moment.

IceBreakerG said,
Right now my only option is the 6Mbps DSL connection I have because comcast "has no plans" to bring service to my neighborhood, and I'm too far from the VRAD for u-verse. My options currently suck at the moment.

Your option is better than mine... 3meg DSL

The only upside in my area is my cell connection is 50Mbit (tested) however those dang data caps...

IceBreakerG said,
Isn't one of the biggest issues with satellite internet the high latency (not to mention being interrupted by the weather)? Also add the ridiculously high costs with the currently available options. If I can't play multiplayer on xbox live with it, it does me no good.
You should look into low orbital satelites. Its been in development for a long time by O3b Network. They joined with google recently and are putting them up only 5000 miles above earth where as hughes launched theirs 22000miles up. Latency on these low orbital satellites are said to be faster than long haul fiber. Also they are planning to provide gigabit internet with these things. The 1billion is just the initial investment they think its prolly going to end up more around 3billion

If they can actually get latency that low, and the speeds are good, then this may be a good option. How does the weather affect this? When it storms will the internet "go out" because of heavy cloud cover?

IceBreakerG said,
If they can actually get latency that low, and the speeds are good, then this may be a good option. How does the weather affect this? When it storms will the internet "go out" because of heavy cloud cover?
my parents have hughesnet cause they are out in the middle of no where. Its pretty much a myth that clouds will knock you offline. The only time their speeds and such start getting affected is during heavy thunderstorms but a little rain or really cloudy day is not going to do anything.

My biggest fear would be about the bandwidth usage limits. On hugheshet they have a "fair access policy" and its like $60 for 10/1 dl/ul and they get 10gb of anytime badnwidth and and extra 10 for 2am-8am hours. Which really sucks

Yeah, I've heard that Hugesnet really sucks when it comes to pricing. At my grandparent's, they've only ever had satellite service until recently when they got comcast. Back in the day, they used to have the giant NASA sized dish in the backyard, then got dish network/directv. There would be problems during the thunderstorms, but that's usually when I want to be on the internet the most too.

That would be incredible to be able to get high speed internet from Google instead of the crapppy ISP I have now. Really looking forward to this if it is true.

As an interesting point of note, for the first ten years of the existence of SpaceX, the total operating cost of the company was 1 billion USD

One launch currently costs about 56 million, and they are hoping to drop the costs even lower with their reusable stages

Edited by Sraf, Jun 2 2014, 3:13pm :