It’s our belief that almost the whole world must be equipped with laptops and wireless signals by now, but that is far from the truth. According to statistics by the United Nations, more than half of the world’s population have no internet access, a 57% to be precise, and what is more surprising is that the number seems to be stagnating.
Despite UN’s aim to lower the percentage down to a perfect 50%, statistics do not show positive change in the percentage rising. In fact, the growth is expected to fall by a half percent by the end of this year. But what does this mean for the future of the internet, and our world as a technologically-dominated place?
Mark Zuckerberg, of Facebook, is a known advocate of ending world hunger and he believes that the first step is awareness through social media, namely the internet. But for countries with economic problems, internet is yet another commodity the population cannot afford.
The answer is in the sky. Literally.
Tech giants like OneWeb, SpaceX, Google, and Facebook are already thinking of innovative ways to connect the rest of the world.
OneWeb’s approach to providing high-speed internet at low costs is to launch hundreds of satellites into space, which will be used to deliver internet around the world. The satellites’ position will be 750 miles high, as opposed to current satellites at 22,000 miles, providing the same service. The idea is that the shorter the distance to earth, the faster the internet speed.
Similarly, SpaceX, a manufacturer in the field of aerospace, plans to launch over 4000 of these satellites, as opposed to only 600 by OneWeb.
Google on the other hand has a different idea in mind. By using solar powered balloons, internet signals would be transmitted from the balloon itself with a lifespan of 100 days, and placed above 60,000 feet to ensure risk mitigation against commercial airplanes. Unlike the aforementioned projects, Google’s is already being tested as we speak.
Last but not least, Facebook has come up with UAV, or unmanned aerial vehicle, named Aquila, or eagle in Latin. The plane has a wingspan of 140 feet, which is close to the wingspan of the large Boeing 737; and it flies for about 3 months at altitudes of 60,000. The method involved with the plane is by using lasers to deliver the internet and at a radius of about 50 miles.
To conclude, the future of the internet looks bright despite current statistics and approximations. Delivering internet to the rest of the world is just the first step that may lead to better fruitions like the increase of employment, the fall of world poverty, and even social betterment.