A Space Race in Silicon Valley

As Web companies such as Google and Facebook ramp up efforts to connect the world to their services, they are increasingly looking to the skies—and higher.

At Google, several signs point to satellites. The company last month hired Brian Holz, who was chief technology officer at O3b Networks, which has launched special satellites to try to broadcast signals that would power new Internet service in developing countries around the world. Google had previously made a financial investment in O3b and one of its employees sits on O3b’s board. The startup’s recently-launched satellites faced technical setbacks this year.

Google also recently hired Dave Bettinger, who had spent 18 years at satellite firm VT iDirect, which supplies high speed broadband and other communications to military services and the oil and gas industry, according to people at Google. VT iDirect also suffered some product delays recently.

No subscription? You’re missing out.
Join the high-powered community of tech and business leaders who rely on The Information’s original news and in-depth reporting.
Subscribe to read the remaining 1147 words of this article.
What’s included in a subscription?
Read The Information’s original, in-depth reporting and analysis
Receive as-they-happen articles via email
Talk with award-winning reporters in subscriber-only conference calls
Join the conversation on our subscriber-only Slack channel
Attend intimate, high-powered events with leaders in tech and business
Subscribe to The Information

As with many Internet-access projects, Web companies like Google and Facebook may have an advantage over existing players because they generate revenue from selling targeted ads online and don’t need to generate revenue from providing the Web access. And if any of their moves spur new investments by existing telecom companies, that would count as a victory because better Web access indirectly leads to more revenue for them. Still, the Web giants are far from proving they can make a significant impact in connecting people to the Internet.


Login or Subscribe to follow the discussions happening here and real-time in our   Slack Community.
Read comments from top tech and industry leaders
Evan Spiegel
Evan Spiegel
CEO, Snapchat
Chamath Palihapitiya
Chamath Palihapitiya
Founder & Managing Partner, SocialCapital
Marc Andreessen
Marc Andreessen
Co-Founder, Andreessen Horowitz
Jonah Peretti
Jonah Peretti
CEO, Buzzfeed
Adam D'Angelo
Adam D'Angelo
CEO, Quora
Brit Morin
Brit Morin
Founder & CEO, Brit + CO
Dustin Moskovitz
Dustin Moskovitz
Co-Founder, Asana
Christina Miller
Christina Miller
President & General Manager, Turner
Max Levchin
Max Levchin
CEO, Affirm
Adam Mosseri
Adam Mosseri
Director of Product, Facebook
Alex Mather
Alex Mather
The Atheltic
Martha Josephson
Martha Josephson
Partner, Egon Zehnder
James Murdoch
James Murdoch
Co-Chief Operating Officer, 21st Century Fox
Andrew Kortina
Andrew Kortina
Founder, Venmo
Ben Chestnut
Ben Chestnut
Co-Founder & CEO, Mailchimp
Ruchi Sanghvi
Ruchi Sanghvi
VP Operations, Dropbox
The satellite initiatives come amidst a broad effort by Google to be a major player in providing Internet access to homes and business. Craig Barratt, head of the Google access team and a relative newcomer to the company, was promoted to senior vice president—a rank that reports to Mr. Page and is held by about a dozen people.