Boeing eyes satellite deal with tech giant this year

Tue Mar 17, 2015 9:18am EDT
 
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By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Boeing Co (BA.N: Quote) on Monday said it could clinch a deal this year to build a high-throughput communications satellite for top technology companies such as Google Inc (GOOGL.O: Quote), Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O: Quote), Facebook Inc (FB.O: Quote) or Apple Inc (AAPL.O: Quote).

Jim Simpson, vice president of business development and chief strategist for Boeing Network and Space Systems, told Reuters the big technology firms were keen to expand Internet access around the world to help them grow.

"The real key to being able to do these type of things is ultra high-throughput capabilities, where we’re looking at providing gigabytes, terrabytes, petabytes of capability," Simpson told Reuters after a panel at the Satellite 2015 conference.

Simpson declined to give specific details about discussions with the tech companies.

He said the challenge was to drive down the cost of satellite communications to be more in line with terrestrial costs, which would help the tech firms justify the expense of building a larger communications satellite.

But if sufficient demand failed to materialize, the tech companies would be left with the cost of "a really high performance satellite," he said.

Boeing and other satellite makers have been eying a new source of demand from technology firms such as Google and Amazon.com, given their interest in reaching the estimated 70 percent of the globe that still lacks access to the Internet.

Privately held Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, has said it plans to build a system of 4,000 satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO) for global Internet connectivity. In January, it received $1 billion in investments from Google and mutual-fund giant Fidelity Investments.   Continued...

 
The Boeing logo is seen at their headquarters in Chicago, April 24, 2013. REUTERS/Jim Young