Elon Musk: free wifi for everyone on Earth
According to The Science Page
The same guy who invented PayPal, created the Tesla Cars, plans to create “SolarCities” and also developed cars that will make money for you when you don’t use them, has ANOTHER very brilliant idea. Elon Musk plans to launch 4,000 low-orbit satellites in order to give free internet access worldwide. The billionaire’s company, SpaceX, revealed the initial framework of the plan in January, with the official request being submitted to the Federal Communications Commission.
4,000 will apparently enable the network to reach literally everywhere on Earth. The network will somehow run itself sometime within the next five years, and communication everywhere will cost nothing at all; although, as The Independent points out
The astronomical cost of the satellites and launch may be the limiting factor. The customers for the service are the very poorest populations in the most remote regions on earth. The initial cost of the satellite network will be difficult to recover.
Whether for philanthropic reasons or in the search for global telecommunications dominance, Musk is not the only eccentric billionaire pushing this frontier.
Greg Wyler, an entrepreneur from Florida and founder of OneNet is being backed by The Virgin Group and Qualcomm to create a similar satellite network. With experience creating networks with his companies RwandaTel and O3B, Wyler might be the man to beat Musk in the next big space race.
Wyler still owns a significant amount of the licensing to supply satellite internet in various regions, meaning Musk may struggle trying to find the space for his own network.
Richard Branson said in Bloomberg’s BusinessWeek “Greg has the rights, and there isn’t space for another network… If Elon wants to get into this area, the logical thing for him would be to tie up with us and if I were a betting man, I would say the chances of us working together rather than separately would be much higher.”
I point this out here for several reasons. Firstly, the same few billionaires have already started to sew up the remaining parts of the future that still have a future. Secondly, I want to look back at this and see what actually happens in the next five years.
Jet cars? No. Space phones? Yes. Richard Branson? Maybe not.