Can a new space race connect the world to the internet?
Earth is seen from the Apollo 8 spacecraft in December 1968. (NASA)
Tali Arbel, The Associated Press
Published Monday, September 23, 2019 12:53PM EDT
NEW YORK -- Tech giants and billionaires hope a new, cheaper crop of internet-beaming satellites and balloons can get internet to those who don't have it.
But they face technical and financial challenges. Previous efforts to zoom fleets of satellites into space ended in failure. And the internet service that does result may still be too expensive to help the people who can't get online.
More than a dozen companies have asked U.S. regulators for permission to operate constellations of satellites that provide internet service. Not all are aimed at connecting consumers, but some have grand and global ambitions.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says the goal is broadband service across the globe. With half the world's population -- more than 3 billion people -- not using the internet, it's a huge potential market.