Elon Musk Wants to Rebuild the Internet in Space

The ambitious project would put Musk in competition with telecom giants and soak the world in internet.


Elon Musk wants to drench the world in free Internet from space. But don’t get too excited. Like most ridiculously ambitious plans, this one is going to take time to execute.

Musk’s SpaceX has just requested the FCC’s approval to beam high-speed from a satellite to Earth. If the trial works, it’s a game changer not only for the telecommunications industry but for the estimated 4.4 billion people who still don’t have any Internet access..

Musk’s endgame is a network of 4,000 small satellites capable of relaying signals, essentially ‘rebuilding the internet in space’. And while an exact, step-by-step timeline is hard to nail down, we’re talking about years of work. Musk projects at least five years between initial launch and opening the service to the public. But that’s not really so long. (Inception came out in 2010 to give you a notion of how fast time passes.)

Of course that five years might turn into a decade or a never. Remember, a firm called LightSquared has already tried to build a wireless internet service in the heavens with FCC backing. It didn’t work out. The difference here is that Musk has in-house rocket production and his network won’t interfere with plane radar, which is a pretty important point.

If you’re reading this in the future, have a good laugh about the days when the Internet was an on-planet thing. And watch out for that deathbot behind you.

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