In an effort to overcome financial and technical problems associated with past efforts, Google plans to spend more than $1 billion on a group of satellites designed to extend Internet access to unwired regions of the world.
The project will start with 180 small, high-capacity satellites orbiting the Earth at low altitudes, and then will expand with more, larger satellites.
Google also is working on Project Loon, which involves high-altitude balloons providing broadband service to remote parts of the world.
"Google and Facebook are trying to figure out ways of reaching populations that thus far have been unreachable," says analyst Susan Irwin.
Google's efforts to deliver Internet service to unserved regions via multiple projects are consistent with how it approaches other new markets, because even if one or more projects do not succeed, the company can use what it learned from those failures in other areas. Google's satellite effort will have to overcome regulatory hurdles, such as coordinating with other satellite operators so the new fleet does not interfere with others. However, if Google succeeds, it "could amount to a sea change in the way people will get access to the Internet, from the Third World to even some suburban areas of the U.S.," says analyst Jeremy Rose.
From The Wall Street Journal
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Fantastic! That's one small step for Google, one giant leap for mankind.
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