Nearly 3.8 billion people are without internet, particularly women and rural poor.
CASIC intends to launch all such Internet satellites by around 2022 to form a constellation that will improve access to the World Wide Web in remote parts of China, and eventually across the world.
Most of the satellites will operate 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) above the earth, far lower than satellites are typically placed. The project is “moving the internet currently on the ground into the sky,” said Hou Xiufeng, a spokesperson for CASIC, “It’s China’s first true low-orbit communication satellite. … The launch will greatly boost commercial space.”
China’s move comes as a number of companies move closer to satellite Internet, which, while not without flaws, has the potential to give people access to the Internet no matter where they are, bridging the limits of cable infrastructure.