The aerospace company SpaceX on November 15th filed a fairly long application with the FCC (Federal Communication Commission) to launch over 4425 satellites into orbit. SpaceX, founded by the tech enrapture/mad scientist Elon Musk also runs the growing car company Tesla. This type of big thinking is not new to him however, a few years ago he announced plans to build the largest building on earth for his "gigafactory" that will manufacturer a massive volume of Lithium Ion batteries and it is on course to be finished soon.
There are currently 1,400 active satellites about about 2,500 dead ones floating in low earth orbit. Even with that Elons massive project would be substantially larger than what we have today. While most of the communication satellites we have weigh a few tons these satellites, like most of what Elon builds, are nothing ordinary. They will weigh about 850 Lbs and will orbit at 22,000 feet up.
"The system is designed to provide a wide range of broadband and communications services for residential, commercial, institutional, governmental and professional users worldwide," SpaceX wrote in its application.
They outline a plan to deliver internet to the United States first then globally with increasing speeds.
"With deployment of the first 800 satellites, SpaceX will be able to provide widespread U.S. and international coverage for broadband services," SpaceX wrote. "Once fully optimized through the Final Deployment, the system will be able to provide high bandwidth (up to 1 Gbps per user), low latency broadband services for consumers and businesses in the U.S. and globally."
The average speed for an internet user is about 5 megabits per seconds. This would offer up to one gigabit per second to every human on earth, wirelessly!
Competition is good as google showed us with their fiber program. In every city that they announced their service the speeds from Comcast and A&TT miraculously increased overnight. Perhaps SpaceX will usher in a new market for multigagabit speeds here on earth.