Google (News - Alert) has recently shown an intent interest in launching several satellites that would be capable of delivering Internet access to remote regions where it otherwise does not exist, including third world countries and hard-to-access townships. One route that Google is reportedly interested in taking is using some of the resources held by Virgin Galactic's space tourism business to help launch hundreds of satellites into orbit. It appears that the two companies have spent the last few months negotiating on this exact prospect, and the talks are close to ending in a partnership between the two companies.
Google has already made the official statement that they would be investing anywhere between $1-3 billion into creating a global fleet of satellites that hang in low-earth orbit with the Intent of broadcasting wireless Internet access. By creating a joint venture with Virgin Galactic, Google could help cut down this price tag (News - Alert) to a manageable size while still gaining the capabilities to launch the satellites.
According to insiders, Google is leaning towards spending somewhere in the neighborhood of $30 million for a small stake in the Virgin Galactic holding company. This investment makes up one half of the reported deal that the two companies are coming to. The other half would involve Google spending several hundred million on an unnamed joint venture with Virgin Galactic. Of course these numbers should be taken with a grain of salt, as the deal still hasn't been closed and could change at any time.
Combined with the recent news that Google purchased satellite manufacturer Skybox Imaging for $500 million, it appears that the company is becoming very serious about their promise to deliver Internet access around the world. If successful, the company could add well over one billion people to the global online community.
Edited by Maurice Nagle
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