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Elon Musk confirms plans to launch Internet micro-satellites

Elon Musk's OpenAI is working on a robot butler.

Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk says he wants to deploy an array of small satellites to deliver low cost Internet access around the world. He sent a tantalizing tweet about it from his personal Twitter account today:

Musk followed up later with a little more detail on the purpose of the micro-satellite system: "unfettered" Internet at a "very low cost."

The exchange follows a Wall Street journal report that SpaceX is working to construct and launch a fleet of as many as 700 satellites that would weigh less than 250 pounds each that would beam Internet access to people across the globe.

As CNET reports, SpaceX would have some competition. Facebook and Google are also trying to deploy satellite-based systems to expand global Internet access. Facebook said in March it was exploring how to use "drones, satellites, and lasers to deliver the Internet to everyone." Last year, Google tested stratospheric balloons to deliver Internet service while floating above the range of airplanes but below satellite orbit. In June of this year, The Wall Street Journal reported Google is planning to spend more than $1 billion to deploy hundreds of low-Earth orbit satellites to provide Internet access to under-served regions of the globe.

In addition to his SpaceX commercial space venture, Musk is also CEO of Tesla Motors. He made his initial fortune by creating and selling PayPal.