Elon Musk seems to be challenging the technological norms at every turn. Whether he’s working to advance the global space program with SpaceX, or he’s working to advance automotive technology with Tesla, the man is constantly pushing the envelope. This time, he seems to have come up with a concept that might actually change the way people receive the internet all over the world. Even more interestingly, he might successfully tap into the currently disconnected portions of the market – who otherwise have no internet service.
Musk’s plan would be to use satellites which are positioned all over the Earth, at roughly 750 miles away from the Earth’s surface. Currently, the telecommunication satellites that exist around the Earth now, are significantly further away – and that is where many believe his plan would effectively be faster than fiber-optic connectivity. The shorter distance though, according to Musk, would also mean that the lower-cost would also mean connecting in more remote areas of the world. Musk wants to tap into the billions who are currently disconnected, and finally create a truly global communications system.
Musk said “The speed of light is 40 percent faster in the vacuum of space than it is for fiber. The long-term potential is to be the primary means of long-distance Internet traffic and to serve people in sparsely populated areas.” While his plan might seem aggressive, with the goal of many major companies around the world – including Facebook to capture those developing and undeveloped markets that don’t currently have Internet access – this fits right into that plan.
He pointed out that his team in Seattle, where his new SpaceX office is located will likely be the location tapped for chasing this dream of his. The cost though, is something that might take a little to get used to. That’s to say that it will cost roughly $10 billion over the course of the next five years to develop, and it would take at least that to develop this – since it is still relatively new technology and would take a lot of work to make a reality.
However, with the future of Internet still being the untapped market – this plays right into the process, and would pave the way to finally bringing connectivity to those areas who do not have it, or are simply too remote to actually obtain it in the first place.