Elon Musk Plans To Give The Entire Planet WiFi Access, Here Is How He Will Do It


by Mayukh Saha,

Elon Musk, despite all the controversies surrounding him, is a genius and a true businessman par excellence. The way he has worked his way from the lower rungs of the entrepreneurial ladder to his present state as one of the Pole Stars of the economic world has been a story that is always worth telling.

What’s more is that he has continually tried to create technological advancements that are genuinely universal and global.

One of his many attempts is obviously his famous and often-criticised idea of Martian travel, which he maintains will soon be a thing.

Another of his projects has always been something that has been attempted before, in an ill-fated attempt by Facebook, among others: the quest of providing Satellite WiFi for the entire world.

This project is about sending top-grade satellites into space, and not a few, we are talking about 4425 satellites, in a project that will cost a whopping $10bn. The Idea for it came already, at least, 2 years ago.

Google has already fronted about a billion dollars to make sure the project gets off the ground.

Even in this case, it is against the interests of so many ISPs that the project should not leave the ground. What is in their interest is that the project should be done by either one of them so that the charges that the customers will face will remain unaffected.

And in this case, there is another ironical situation that has been encountered: the internet.org project attempt by Facebook which failed, failed because of an explosion in the SpaceX launcher.

Anyway, similar attempts using high-altitude drones and balloons were attempted by Facebook and Google respectively.

Despite all that, there is the additional issue of the aftermath of the Falcon 9 explosion, which had caused a considerable hiatus in all launches.

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As far as the details of the mission are concerned, satellites will measure 4×1.8×1.2 cubic metres, offsetting the solar panels on board.

Like everything else, when it comes to Elon Musk, and this is what also separates this project from the others, is that he plans to send up a large number of satellites. He is planning to send them all at once, with no thought of testing waters with a few before sending more.

Critics have been criticising not only this aspect of the project but also the fact that connectivity will be highly dependent on proper consideration of weather.

Another huge concern is the resultant environmental impact from launching about 4k satellites by 2019, which is roughly two years since the original vision. And given this small time window, will the satellites be adept enough in their functions?

NASA currently estimates that 2600 non-functional satellites are roaming orbit spaces right now. So, will two years be enough to encapsulate something with so many variables? It also includes the possibility that a large number of those launched or existing satellites might crash into each other and come down in blazes of destruction towards Earth.

Yes, the thought does count as something that is very tantalizing. But for now, let’s just hope that our richer corporate higher-ups think everything through before investing $10bn dollars in such a fantasy. It can obviously be used to combat many problems facing the world, child hunger and climate change being two of many. Ambitious decisions like these should be judged correctly before acting on any of them.


Image credits: Heisenberg Media [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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