Last month, this site reported on Google’s new project called Loon, which uses hot air balloons to deliver broadband and wireless services to under-served or emergency prone areas.
Now, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google plans is to invest between $1 to $3 billion on 180 “small, high capacity” satellites that will extend Internet access to additional under-served areas of the world.
Google recently purchased drone-maker Titan Aerospace to deliver solar-powered high-altitude drones that can stay airborne for five years at a time. Satellite-communications expert Greg Wyler is reportedly leading the new project for Google reporting directly to chief executive Larry Page with a team of about 20 people.
Google’s move into satellites follows Facebook’s efforts under internet.org and the Connectivity Lab to explore the potential for drones, satellites, and lasers to connect people.
It is estimated that it will take around five years to construct and launch the 180 satellites.