Elon Musk’s satellite swarm to provide global internet service?

Cecilia Kang and Christian Davenport, for The Washington post:

Elon Musk’s space company has asked the federal government for permission to begin testing on an ambitious project to beam Internet service from space, a significant step forward for an initiative that could create another major competitor to Comcast, AT&T and other telecom companies.

The plan calls for launching a constellation of 4,000 small and cheap satellites that would beam high-speed Internet signals to all parts of the globe, including its most remote regions. Musk has said the effort “would be like rebuilding the Internet in space.”

If successful, the attempt could transform SpaceX, based in Hawthorne, Calif., from a pure rocket company into a massive high-speed-Internet provider that would take on major companies in the developed world but also make first-time customers out of the billions of people who are currently not online.

Ambitious, to be sure, and I’m all for it. Musk is on a roll, and his heart is in the right place, and he has the resources to pull something like this off. Still, I suspect this is only the beta program for Musk’s even more ambitious plan to deliver fast internet access to Mars.