If new satellite-internet players like SpaceX or Amazon succeed, it could dramatically transform the future of work

The web’s hidden superhighways transport our data at blinding speed — in the ground, through the air, and even from space — and connect us via computers in our hands, cars, offices, and, recently, even toothbrushes and toilets.

To say our relationship with the web has changed radically over the past 10 years would be a gross understatement. Light beaming through fiber-optic glass, and high-frequency wireless signals beaming to and from our phones, has made possible downloading almost anything anywhere in the developing world, and at practically instantaneous speed. Children are growing up getting to know many of their relatives primarily through glowing slabs.

But assuming the web has somehow peaked would be a worse error. The following years could be some of the most transformational yet of the digital age and across countless industries, according to economic, space, and telecommunications experts.

A handful of companies like SpaceX, Amazon, OneWeb, and possibly Apple are poised to accelerate that evolution as they race to collectively launch tens of thousands of internet-beaming satellites that orbit just beyond our planet’s atmosphere, or very low-Earth orbit (VLEO).

Should even one of their projects work, it could redefine where and how many of us — in bustling and remote areas alike — live and work.

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