Elon Musk’s Space X is one step closer to bringing internet to the masses.
The rocket company has asked permission from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to begin to test beaming high-speed internet from space using satellites, according to a report from the Washington Post.
Musk originally shared his idea of using satellites in space as a way to provide internet during a Space X event in January. His plan requires the use of 4,000 geosynchronous satellites to blanket the Earth in internet signals, ultimately bringing cheap, high-speed connectivity to all corners of the Earth. The satellites are to be designed by Space X engineers in the company’s office in Redmond, Oregon.
The project “would be like rebuilding the internet in space,” Musk said.
But Musk’s project won’t happen overnight and it won’t be cheap.
The FCC filing reveals that tests for the project are slated to begin next year and it would be another five years before the service would be up and running, according to the report.
The cost is projected to be $US10 billion, according to reports earlier this year.
But Musk has previously said that the business is a good long-term revenue source and that the money could be used to eventually build a city on Mars.
But in the more near-term, if Musk’s internet bet goes according to plan, it could mean bad news for internet service giants like AT&T, Time Warner and Comcast.
Of course, Musk is not the first tech leader trying to bring internet to the masses.
Google’s Project Loon uses cellular spectrum and balloons floating in the atmosphere to bring internet to the most remote parts of the globe.
It’s worth noting, though, that Google and Fidelity have invested $US1 billion in Space X and part of those funds are reportedly going towards the company’s satellite internet ambitions.
Last year, Facebook also said it would invest $US1 billion in creating a new internet network via satellites, but earlier this week it was reported by The Information that the company was abandoning its efforts because of concerns over cost.
Virgin’s Richard Branson is also an investor in a company called OneWeb, which also aims to use satellites to beam cheap, high-speed Internet all over the world.