Google plans to spend $1 billion on a fleet of satellites to extend Internet access to unwired regions of the world. -Associated Press
Silicon Valley internet companies are racing to find ways to increase internet access around the world. Last summer I had the chance to talk with Google's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt. It was clear he was passionate about spreading internet access to everyone. "Internet connectivity significantly improves people's lives. Yet, currently more than two-thirds of the world's population do not have internet availability." While he was enthusiastically telling me about Project Loon, Google is now also investing in satellites as another part of its strategy.
While specifics are still being designed, it appears like 180 small, high-capacity satellites orbiting the earth could be a solid start from which the company could expand. Google's satellite venture is led by Greg Wyler, founder of satellite-communications startup O3b Networks Ltd. (named for the "other three billion" people)
Besides the social and economic benefits for humanity that come with the free exchange of ideas, spreading internet access is also good for business. "Google and Facebook are counting on new Internet users in underserved regions to boost revenue, and ultimately, earnings." -WSJ