Google is making plans to invest over $1 billion in a fleet of 180 satellites that the company will launch into space to provide Internet access to parts of the world that do not yet have connectivity.

The price of the fleet of small, high-capacity satellites will run between $1 billion to $3 billion. The satellites will be placed in orbit around the Earth at altitudes that are lower when compared with most satellites.

According to a Google spokeswoman, two-thirds of the world has no access to the Internet yet, despite the fact that Internet connectivity provides a significant improvement to people's daily lives. 

Along with rival Facebook, Google is looking to expand Internet usage all over the globe. New Internet users that would come from newly connected regions will boost the revenue of Internet companies such as Google and Facebook, which will in turn boost their earnings.

Google appointed Greg Wyler, the founder of O3b Networks Ltd., as the leader of this satellite project. Wyler recently joined Google, along with the former chief technology officer of O3b, a satellilte communications company. Google is also hiring satellite engineers from Space Systems/Loral LLC to become a part of the project.

"Google and Facebook are trying to figure out ways of reaching populations that thus far have been unreachable," president of satellite communications research company Irwin Communications Inc., Susan Irwin said"Wired connectivity only goes so far and wireless cellular networks reach small areas. Satellites can gain much broader access." 

In June of last year, Google unveiled Project Loon, which aims to provide Internet access to all parts of the world through the usage of solar-powered, remote-controlled, high-flying balloons. A test lately concluded in April on one these balloons showed that it can complete a full orbit around the globe in just 22 days. In the same month, Google beat Facebook in acquiring drone maker Titan Aerospace, which will aid in the company's quest to spread Internet access.

As per Neil Mackay, CEO of advisory firm Mile Marker 101, satellites are more flexible and can provide greater capacity compared with the balloons proposed in Project Loon, as manufacturing and launching costs of satellites have sharply decreased in recent years.

Facebook, on the other hand, is developing Internet.org, which is a coalition of companies in the mobile technology industry that has the same goal of providing affordable Internet access to all parts of the globe to establish a true World Wide Web.

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