Though more than three billion people use the Internet, most of the world is offline.
But if Samsung’s new Space Internet proposal – a bold plan in which the company sends thousands of micro-satellites to space to provide high-speed Internet to the five billion people without it – is realized, the remainder of the global population could get access.
“MOBILE INTERNET FROM THE HEAVENS”
Written by Farooq Khan, the president of Samsung R&D in Texas, the paper postulates that mobile data usage will exceed one zetabyte by 2028.
“As more people connect to the internet, increasingly chat to friends and family, watch videos on the move, and listen to streamed music on their mobile devices, mobile data traffic continues to grow at unprecedented rates,” said Khan. As such, micro-satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles will be needed to “connect the remaining two-thirds of humankind that currently do not have access to the internet”.
The answer, then, is what Khan calls “space Internet”. Samsung would develop it by launching micro-satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles into space to beam web access.
Connectivity would reach mobile devices through access points and cellular base stations on Earth that redirect data, rather than directly broadcast from the satellites. Phased-array antennas would be used to minimize interference issues and improve coverage.
In the paper, which is called “Mobile Internet From the Heavens”, the technical details of the micro-satellites and the unmanned aerial vehicles proposed to be sent to space are explained in depth. The micro-satellites would mostly weigh less than 500 kilograms and orbit at nearly 2,000 kilometers to minimize latency.
COST OF SPACE INTERNET
The cost of the space Internet also addressed. Though setting the proposed system up would be extremely expensive today, the increasing use of 5G technologies would reduce the cost.
OTHER INTERNET BEAMING PLANS
As Richard Chirgwin pointed out in The Register, other tech giants like SpaceX and Google have already been working on providing web access to those without it. Last month, Facebook revealed details about a massive solar-powered drone engineered to beam internet connectivity to remote areas of the world with poor infrastructure. And because of Google’s “internet balloons”, Sri Lanka will be the first nation to ever receive universal web access.