- Elon Musk-owned SpaceX is seeking federal approval to beam internet from space using a vast satellite network, according to filings with the Federal Communications Commission.
- The move would allow for global internet coverage from a network of 4,425 orbiting satellites. The project, which Musk first announced in January 2015, would cost at least $10 billion, according to a Reuters report.
- The network would start with a launch of about 800 satellites to provide high-speed internet access to the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Musk is not the first to try to reshape how the internet is provided. Many companies are moving to find more flexible solutions rather than the current network model currently relied upon by enterprises and consumers alike. Whether it's high-flying drones or new-aged balloons, major tech companies have leapt at the opportunity to provide internet for all, particularly in remote areas around the world that still lack internet access.
But the move is easier said than done. Such efforts are prohibitively expense and face environmental challenges, not to mention questions about net neutrality. Facebook is working to develop solar-powered planes to beam internet to hard to access places using Artificial Intelligence-enhanced population maps. Though its intentions are to boost access, Facebook has already come under fire for its mobile app that provides free internet to people in developing countries.
Some users say the app provides only truncated access to some websites, arguing that internet providers shouldn’t be able to dictate consumer website access.