It is like a dream coming true: a fast and cheap internet directly via satellite. Actually, Facebook, Google, and even SpaceX have explored the idea. But, a former Googler and friend of Elon Musk have beaten them by becoming the first to receive permission to actually build a next-generation satellite internet service that targets US customers.
According to reports, it could benefit the Americans nationwide by providing broadband anywhere in the United States.
Satellite internet services are available now. But today’s technology is slow, expensive and largely out-of-reach for individual consumers. The users need to pay up to US$200 a day. But, it is only for corporate customers or, in some cases. Otherwise, relief workers need to face natural disasters regularly where connectivity is a must.
On Thursday, federal regulators voted to give Greg Wyler and his company, OneWeb, approval to use the airwaves that will beam the internet down to earth.
The network involves a fleet of 720 satellites. All satellites are orbiting the earth at an altitude of roughly 745 miles (1,200 kilometers). The first satellite is expected to launch next year and service by early as 2019.
Wyler in 2007 tested a similar kind of satellite network called O3b Networks. O3b Networks currently have 12 satellites in medium orbit. According to the company, the network could deliver the speed of 1 Gbps, as fast as Google Fiber with less lag.
This next generation of satellite internet services could reduce lag by bringing the satellites closer to Earth. By placing them in low-earth orbit, the internet data will spend less time in transit – leading to a smoother, faster internet experience.
Chairman Ajit Pai said, “It is our hope that in the future years to come, Americans will be able to use these networks when they’re in the sky to make their own destiny.”
In addition, the companies like SpaceX, and 10 other entities also planning to launch their satellites on earth’s lower orbit. They even have submitted plans to the FCC last year for approval.