Question Your World: Can We Have Internet Everywhere? | Community Idea Stations


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Question Your World: Can We Have Internet Everywhere?

In the 1990's the computer market in America started to bloom. This was the era of dial up modems which connected machines to the internet via telephone cables. Soon after we started to see things go wireless and the internet became more accessible in various parts of the house or office building. Then we entered the world of mobile devices with internet access, now you can log on from the grocery store  or driving range. So, what's next? Can we have internet literally everywhere? Listen to this Question Your World radio report produced by the Science Museum of Virginia to find out.

The internet has had an undeniable impact on the world. Everything from basic communications to good and services to entertainment all have to funnel through the internet at some capacity. Sure, the initial thought of the internet to most of us would involve email, social media, or some sort of entertainment. Aside from those domestic uses, the internet works hard around the clock making sure the various governments of the world are processing data, keeping shipping information for vendors organized, allowing for around the world communications for hospitals, and beyond. The parts of the world that with internet access have built it into nearly all functional capacities to serve as a very useful and powerful tool. What about the places where we don't have the internet though?

Well, all that could change if Google’s most recent plan comes to life. In a recent news release the internet juggernaut announced plans for launching 180 satellites in low earth orbit to provide internet for nearly the entire planet. This would be a huge upgrade for travelers that want to upload their travel-selfies, use GPS in foreign parts of the world, look up cat memes, and so on. That is just one small application for this game-changer of a plan though. Developing nations could stand to benefit greatly by having this internet access provided without any set up or building costs. Most developing nations still rely on laying fiber cables to procure internet connections, but having this wi-fi availability would bypass the costs of creating an internet framework from the ground up.

The estimated cost of this truly world-wide web would set Google back $1 to $3 billion, but these costs can be made up rather quickly. Google's plan would allow for more eyes to be on the internet more often in more parts of the world.  A byproduct of this would mean more customers to advertise to. Google's ad placements and various marketing contracts could take full advantage of opening up their products and services to literally an entire new and vast market. This plan would bring internet to many parts of the world that don't have internet already, a lot of these places are home to millions of people that could one day be considered marketing demographics and customers, which for the moment, they are not.

This plan is still in its initial phases and very few details have been made available to the public, but this does paint an interesting picture of our current digital landscape. As a species, we have a history of using technology to impact our standard of living and learning. The planet's access to the internet could most certainly be ushering in a new era for humanity. Once we had figured out how to use fire and the wheel, there was no turning back. You are reading these words right now directly because of the internet, and for better or worse, there's no going back. If Google can become the first entity to usher in global internet access they could very well impact the future of our species as a whole.

There have been no details confirmed as to when they would start working on the physical satellite manufacturing, launches, or going live with this global access service. Regardless of the specific day the plan goes live, if its like any other internet installation, we can assume that it'll take place sometime between 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. that day.

Article by: Prabir Mehta, Science Museum of Virginia

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