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Report: Google Dropping More Than $1B on Satellites to Extend Internet

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 11:48am
Ben Munson

Google is deploying 180 satellites to provide Internet access to under-served and unconnected regions in the world, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The price range for the project could range from $1 billion to more than $3 billion. The report said the number of satellites could double based on final designs.

Google hired Greg Wyler, found of satellite-communications company O3b Networks, to head up the project along with a team of 10 to 20, according to the report.

The reported satellite venture joins Google’s other airborne effort to extend the Internet’s reach, Project Loon. Project Loon is deploying large balloons into the atmosphere to relay broadband signals. Google recently acquired Titan Aerospace, a high-altitude drone company, and plans to integrate that technology with its Project Loon initiative.

Project Loon, Google’s emerging satellite Internet project, and Facebook’s internet.org would all benefit from the use of unlicensed spectrum in their missions to spread Internet access. In March, the FCC pledged to open up 100 MHz of 5 GHz spectrum for unlicensed use.

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