Google is continuing its quest to spread internet across the globe with its latest investment: 180 small satellites that can provide connectivity to underserved areas. The company is investing $1 billion dollars on a fleet of satellites which will orbit the planet at a lower altitude than most satellites. This will allow Google to reach those who live without internet, who have so far proven difficult to reach.
The project is being led by Greg Wyler who recent joined Google after founding his own satellite communications company O3b. In addition to Wyler, Google has also hired around 10 to 20 satellite engineers. Depending on the final network, the project could cost anywhere from $1 to $3 billion, and if it succeeds, could lead to double the number of satellites in the future.
Google has also been working on Project Loon which sends out high-altitude balloons to get internet service to remote areas. “Internet connectivity significantly improves people’s lives. Yet two thirds of the world have no access at all,” a Google spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal. While other companies have had satellite dreams prior to this, Google believes that they can overcome previous hurdles that held other companies back because satellites have become more flexible and more powerful for less money than ever before.