Advances in satellite technology could pave the way for a global WiFi network

Ultrafast, ubiquitous connectivity may seem like a pipe dream, but world-wide WiFi coverage could be closer than you might think.

Speaking at the opening of the IP Expo event in London on Wednesday, senior NASA astronaut, Chris Hadfield, said that advances in commercial satellite technology could have a profound impact on the telecoms sector, in the not too distant future. 

"If you can own the transportation market to the rest of the universe, the opportunities are huge. If you could put 100 satellites, no bigger than an everyday speaker cabinet into orbit, you could give the whole world WiFi – and that’s what entrepeneurs like Elon Musk and Richard Branson are chasing. They want to put a constellation of satellites up, low enough that there is very little time lag, and give everyone in the world WiFi. They’ll probably call it SkyNet, i bet" he said. 

While obstacles still remain to bring down the associated costs of commercial satellite launches, Hadfield challenged innovators and entrepeneurs in the tech sector to push the boundaries of what is possible. 

"Innovators] should be perpetually frustrated by the limitations of their own insufficient knowledge. That’s how we improve, that’s how we learn, that’s how we change the perception of what we are capable of achieving," he said. 

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