Google Partners With Elon to Make Space-Based Internet a Reality
Just a few days back, SpaceX chief, Elon Musk was in the news again when he talked about his audacious plan to connect the world through space-based internet. He said that this would not just benefit the internet users around the world; it will also help connect those last 3 Billion people who still don’t have access to the internet. The plan as anyone can expect would be expensive, but seems like Elon may now have a partner with one of the deepest pockets in the business; the search giant Google.
Elon has stated that the cost of setting up the constellation of satellites would be above $10 Billion. He claims that this system of providing internet would be speedier and more convenient to spread around. The satellites are expected to be connected through a laser based system as Elon doesn’t have rights to use radio waves.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is interested in investing $1 Billion into the project to kick off the initial stages of the development of the constellation. This deal would be beneficial for Google too as the internet behemoth would find a massive new user base. Google has been known for investmenting in multiple areas to spread the reach of the internet around the world. Previously the company has invested in Project Loon that is an initiative to provide internet through giant helium balloons circling the globe that are equipped to beam Wi-Fi signals down below. Along with that the company was also planning a massive investment in undersea cables to bring 60 Tbps Internet connectivity for Asia.
Google was also working with Greg Wyler whose project is almost similar to SpaceX’s plan. Greg left Google last year to form his own satellite company called OneWeb. The company is now backed by Virgin founder Richard Branson and chip maker Qualcomm. Richard had earlier said that Elon doesn’t have the spectrum license, and there isn’t a space for a competing company, so SpaceX should join OneWeb’s initiative. But it seems now that with Google’s blessings on their side, SpaceX can make their plans, a reality. It will also be interesting to see how the company manages to provide the service without access to radio waves. Get ready for some big corporate fights on this issue.
For Google, the initiative, to bring the internet through satellites, will also be cheaper than laying those expensive submarine cables. And the rest of humanity will benefit from the access to the internet. This sounds like a win-win for all. The icing on the cake is Elon’s hopes of setting up a human station on Mars from the revenue of the satellite based internet.