WSJ: Google to spend up to $3B+ on satellite network

Google (GOOG) plans to spend ~$1B to more than $3B to build a fleet of satellites providing Web access to unconnected and underserved regions, the WSJ reports.

Google's project will reportedly start with 180 small satellites orbiting the earth at relatively low altitudes, and is being led by the founder of satellite services startup O3b Networks.

The effort comes on the heels of Google's purchase of solar-powered drone maker Titan Aerospace (also aims to provide Web access to remote areas), and the launch of Project Loon, an effort to prove 3G-or-faster Web access for the planet using hot-air balloons.

Larry Page has argued balloons are cheaper and easier to deploy than satellites, but satellites offer more capacity, and have seen their costs drop sharply in recent years. Analyst Tim Farrar thinks Google will replace Loon in favor of Titan's drones, and have Titan complement a satellite network.

Google has also been reported to be close to acquiring Skybox Imaging, a provider of high-res satellite imagery and related analytics services, for ~$1B.

Globalstar (GSAT) +1.2% premarket. Other satellite services firms that could be affected by Google's move: VSAT, LORL, SATS, IRDM.

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Comments (10)
  • jpintoctr
    , contributor
    Comments (737) | Send Message
    To many hobbies and high investment projects with cero revenues at sight. Wall Street is taking note and for the first time openly critizise some like the driveless car, a cool project for some but billions ahead to make it economically possible, not to speak about implications for the company interns of liabilities and regulation.
    The split and the new corporate structure giving the founders full control made many investors unhappy. If we add the lack of transparency regarding capital allocation for this kind of projects (Motorola purchase was very costly) we can expect shareholders soon will start to demand more visibility and a say over this kind of "pet" projects and ask the founders to financed with their own resources.
    Without adds Google is vulnerable since there no other serious source of revenue.
    2 Jun 2014, 11:24 AM Reply Like
  • idkmybffjill
    , contributor
    Comments (1914) | Send Message
    LOL - I highly doubt anyone is going to start demanding more visibility (and actually receive it). As you yourself said, the founders control the company. Anyone outside can't do sh*t.
    2 Jun 2014, 11:39 AM Reply Like
  • Moon Kil Woong
    , contributor
    Comments (13557) | Send Message
    Yes, Google's watered down share issue is much like bad Chinese companies, Facebook, etc. When shareholders get their voting rights ripped off by founders expect the worse. After all, their interests may not be yours at all.
    3 Jun 2014, 03:58 AM Reply Like
  • LYogi
    , contributor
    Comments (3211) | Send Message
    in my view there is nothing wrong with Google's initiative here. They could give $$ to charitable causes or take matters into their own hands as they are doing here.


    Leading by example.
    2 Jun 2014, 11:42 AM Reply Like
  • stockpicker99
    , contributor
    Comments (105) | Send Message
    In my honest opinion, R&D is the brain child of the growth and not all ventures will strike the gold. But GOOGL shall look for improvement in top line other than adv. revenue. Adv. revenue may slow down due to competition from FB and others.
    GOOGL either discovers a disruptive technology or buys a business which will be
    adding revenue immidiately. The investment may be foreign company. You can play so long and it is time to put up or shut up. My two cents worth of suggestion.
    2 Jun 2014, 12:06 PM Reply Like
  • sses
    , contributor
    Comments (49) | Send Message
    Why do people invest in companies that pay no dividend and give you no say (GOOG) in how they are run?
    2 Jun 2014, 12:50 PM Reply Like
  • herbissimus
    , contributor
    Comments (28) | Send Message
    people invest to make have a say at General Electric, Intel, 3M ?
    2 Jun 2014, 05:52 PM Reply Like
  • Derek A. Barrett
    , contributor
    Comments (3554) | Send Message
    Sweet can't wait to get data mined from outerspace lol ;-)
    2 Jun 2014, 02:37 PM Reply Like
  • herbissimus
    , contributor
    Comments (28) | Send Message
    data mined from outer space should be pretty light weight, i wouldn't worry your "pretty little head" about it.
    2 Jun 2014, 05:57 PM Reply Like
  • Derek A. Barrett
    , contributor
    Comments (3554) | Send Message
    Thanks for calling me pretty :-)


    2 Jun 2014, 09:13 PM Reply Like
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