Google is planning to spend more than $1 billion on low-Earth orbit satellites to bring internet access to unwired regions of the globe, according to the Wall Street Journal. Details are scarce at this time, but it is being speculated that the project will probably start with 180 small, high-capacity satellites orbiting the earth at lower altitudes than traditional satellites.
Depending on factors like the network's final design, the number of satellites, and more, the project's projected price could exceed $3 billion.
The venture is headed by Greg Wyler, founder of satellite-communications startup O3b Networks, who along with the company's former CTO has recently joined Google. The search giant has also been hiring engineers from satellite company Space Systems/Loral LLC to work on the project.
Google has long sought ways to extend Internet coverage from the sky. Last June, the company unveiled Project Loon, an experiment with high-altitude, solar-powered balloons to provide broadband internet access. Back in April this year, it acquired Titan Aerospace, which is building solar-powered drones to provide similar connectivity.
Meanwhile, Facebook, which was also said to have been interested in Titan Aerospace, is also putting in similar efforts to bring Internet access to underserved regions of the globe. Both the companies are counting on new Internet users in these regions to boost revenue, and ultimately, earnings.