Stuck in a remote part of the world with limited Internet access? Help may be on the way in the form of a Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL)(NASDAQ:GOOG) satellite. Fool contributor Tim Beyers explains the implications in the following video.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Google CEO Larry Page is authorizing between $1 billion and $3 billion for developing and launching 180 small Google satellites into low-Earth orbit. The idea is to supply Internet access via craft similar to (but smaller than) those designed by O3b, a satellite communications start-up Google has invested in. Founder Greg Wyler has since left to head up the search king's satellite Internet program.
The news comes on the heels of both Google and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) announcing plans to use drones to bring Internet service to hard-to-reach regions. Project Loon enhances those efforts via Internet delivered from high-altitude balloons. Here in the U.S., a plan to give small businesses Wi-Fi equipment could establish a de facto Google network anyone can plug into. Finally, there's Google Fiber to consider. We'd call it an arms race if this were the 1980s and Facebook and Google were stockpiling weapons rather than enabling Internet connections.
More broadly, the news suggests that Google isn't as dependent on high-speed, hard-wired fiber connections as we might have believed only a year ago. Choosing wireless (and ultimately, satellite) should make it easier to blanket the entire world with at least some broadband. A plan that mirrors Facebook's own ambitions.
Those with fiber envy may find that annoying. For everyone else -- including not just consumers but also Facebook and Google investors -- more comprehensive broadband access amounts to a win. Tim says that's true no matter who's funding the source.
Now it's your turn to weigh in. What do you think of Google's satellite plan? Please watch the video to get the full story and then leave a comment to let us know your take, including whether you would buy, sell, or short Google stock at current prices.