SPACE ADVENTURER AND PROFESSIONAL BEARD wearer Richard Branson has announced that his Virgin 'Battlestar' Galactic project is to fund an international network of satellites designed to bring global internet connectivity.
Branson and chip-maker Qualcomm have taken equity stakes in OneWeb, a company which already has control of a chunk of radio spectrum and plans to launch an initial $2bn scheme involving 648 satellites offering internet connections, with billing being made via mobile carriers.
The satellites, which weigh around 130kg, will sit in a low-Earth orbit at around 750 miles, and plans are afoot for the Virgin Galactic LauncherOne subsidiary to launch the satellites.
Google has taken a slightly different approach to the same problem with Project Loon, a proposed series of weather balloons offering the same rural WiFi opportunities.
A test flight of one such balloon recently took place in New Zealand and ended with the coastguard being called after a downed balloon was mistaken for a stricken vessel.
The news that Qualcomm and Virgin are to partner with Oneweb has come a little out of the left field as, while perfect partners on paper, it was widely expected that SpaceX, the Elon Musk headed project, would be investing.
The INQUIRER would also like to point out that a global network of satellites carrying the internet was how The Master managed to enslave the Earth in a major storyline of Doctor Who.
So whether this is a good idea or not really depends on how much you trust Ol' Beardy. µ
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