Elon Musk’s company SpaceX has requested permission from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to test a project to beam high-speed internet via satellite.
Musk first made his plans known in January at a SpaceX event in Seattle. The idea involves a network of 4,000 small low-cost satellites that would be deployed from the company’s Falcon 9 rocket and orbit Earth, while connecting to ground stations on the West Coast.
SpaceX’s tests will determine if its antenna technology is capable of delivering high-speed internet access to devices on the ground. The company wants to begin testing next year and could have its service available to the public in five years.
SpaceX received billion in funding from Google and Fidelity in January, a part of which is earmarked for the satellite internet project.
It’s worth noting that Musk isn’t the only one interested in this technology; Virgin Group founder Richard Branson is on the board of directors at OneWeb, a company that’s also developing a satellite constellation capable of delivering internet access from space.