By Zoe Kleinman
Publishedduration7 minutes agoSharenocloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingimage copyrightLoonimage captionLoon launched 35 of its balloons
Satellites – once the poor relation of broadband providers, considered the slowest, most expensive option and a real last resort – have become the hot favourite in the race to connect the world in places land-based internet does not reach.
Ambitious alternatives have bitten the dust.
Last week, Google scrapped its Loon company, set up nine years ago to beam the internet down to rural areas via a network of large balloons but unable to "build a long-term, sustainable business".
And Facebook abandoned Aquila, its flying-internet project using drones, in 2018.
But satellite-based services, such as Elon Musk's Starlink, are taking off – in every sense.