Space

The next battle of the titans of Silicon Valley will be held in space - but for the people

Like superheroes and comic book supervillains,The largest technology companies in the world are fighting each other - and the Earth is their ultimate goal. Although it may sound quite melodramatic, this is how you can summarize the latest trend among Silicon Valley companies that are seeking to deliver the Internet to the most remote corners of the planet, launching their own Internet satellites into orbit. These launches can finally turn the world into an intricate and intertwined place that technogiants so dream of.

What is at stake? The ability to connect every remaining person on the planet to the Internet. And as a bonus - many, many billions of dollars.

Who fights for space

Facebook confirmed last summer that it planslaunch your own satellite called Athena. In this way, broadband Internet access could be provided to the developing “unserved and underserved” communities in the world. The proposed satellite in low Earth orbit was supposed to take over the watch of "limited duration" in early 2019, followed by a longer mission - if successful.

Ilon Musk is also in business. His company, SpaceX, has dreamed of a “global broadband system” since 2015. At the beginning of this year, two Starlink test satellites (Tintin A and Tintin B) were launched, which should prove that the concept is working. If everything goes according to plan, thousands of other satellites will follow.

Google doesn't tag so high - literally. But the Project Loon initiative is aimed at using solar-powered balloons to transmit the Internet to homes, businesses and personal devices in parts of the world where there is no broadband infrastructure. "It is easiest to imagine them as floating cell phone towers," a Loon spokesman said earlier. "Loon works with mobile network operators to expand their networks for unconnected or under-connected communities."

Amazon also connects to the action. Last week there were plans for the project "Kuiper".

Project Kuiper initiative will allow retailto the giant to bring 3236 satellites to a low near-earth orbit, again to provide access to the Internet for communities that do not yet have such access. Applications have been filed with the International Telecommunication Union, a UN agency that decides on the allocation of orbits for satellites.

There are other efforts that we have not mentioned -they were supported by such big names as Richard Branson. In 2019, the deployment of a global network of broadband Internet broadcasting satellites is a kind of flash mob. If you are not doing this, then what are you doing at all?

Battlefield: space

Technocompanies love to talk about a big game undername "change the world." Steve Jobs, the creator of Apple, often talked about how the company leaves a mark in the universe - by creating attractive, if expensive, personal computers. Google doesn't just create search engines; she wants to make the information of the world useful for everyone. For a long time, the slogan “Not to be evil” was in the company's corporate code of conduct.

However, in most cases it is all the samefor distraction. In the end, these are companies that bring a lot of money and hold an answer to the shareholders. Whether it's Facebook, telling about the importance of regulation (and adding a barrier to potential competitors), or Apple defending confidentiality (and thus creating a valuable aspect that no data-greedy competitors can boast about), everything will be encrypted did not seem outside.

The same can be said about the distributionInternet in the poorest — or most under-served — markets in the world. “The satellite initiatives of large tech giants like Amazon, Facebook and Google are undoubtedly useful initiatives,” says Spyros Margaris, a columnist for the venture capital and technology industry. “Of course, techno players want to help people without Internet access to it, but this is only half the story. I think it's all about getting new customers, because where there is no Internet, there is no Amazon b2c business, for example. ”

That is, if briefly. Amazon, Google, Facebook and others over the past ten years or more have become pillars of life on the Internet. For a long time they did not encounter heads. But it is changing. Whether it's original video content, AI, research, search, access to news, and much more, these companies had plenty of ways to grow without interfering with the business of others.

But the satellite initiative will become an area forcompetition. Given the bold plans to bring thousands of new satellites into orbit and astronomical costs, it will be interesting to watch the next stage of the battle for the technoplatform, which is conducted outside our personal devices and even outside the Earth's atmosphere.

But consider satellites as anotherentertaining technical design does not make sense. The main goal of all this is to attract the attention of users around the world. In the US, for example, almost everyone has access to the Internet. But in the world - slightly more than half of the total population has access to online.

According to data published at the beginning of thismonth, 56.1% of the world's population has access to the Internet. In emerging markets, this number is much lower. Africa is one of the markets that lags far behind in the “digital divide”.

Providing Internet access to these partsLight - a great opportunity for modern giants. In addition to providing access to the Web, it is also a chance for Amazon, Facebook and others to expand their markets beyond what is currently imaginable. This is a race to bring tools and services like Google and Amazon Prime to everyone on our planet. Although it will take some time, the rewards will be indescribably large, even for companies that have astronomical value and serve millions of people a day.

Or, as Sean Parker of Social Network would say: “Your current user base is not so cool. Do you know what's cool? 7.53 billion users. ”

And who would you prefer in this race? Tell us in our chat in Telegram.