Apple buying Boeing satellite
Apple is among a list of major technology companies said to be in talks with Boeing about buying a communications satelliteReuters

Boeing has said major technology companies like Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook are interested in purchasing its powerful satellites.

The aviation and satellite company is hoping to clinch a deal with one of these companies by the end of the year to build a "high-throughput communications satellite", which could help provide expanded internet access around the world.

"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," Boeing's Jim Simpson told Reuters after a panel at the Satellite 2015 conference.

While Google and Facebook are already working on their own systems of bringing internet access to the developing world, it is unknown what a company like Apple might use the powerful device for.

The company could potentially use it to augment its mapping and location services but the huge cost associated with building such a satellite and putting it into geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO) would be a significant outlay for any company - even one like Apple which has a huge mountain of cash on hand.

High cost

Mobile phone networks are among the customers who deal with companies like Boeing for satellites like this as they can offset the high costs by providing new services to customers.

Simpson said the company was working on bringing the cost of satellite communications down to be more in line with terrestrial costs.

Google recently announced it had been part of a $1bn investment round in SpaceX, the privately-held space exploration company founded by Elon Musk. The company has announced plans to launch 4,000 satellites in low earth orbit (LEO) to provide a global internet network - a project expected to take five years and cost up to $10bn.

Google is also running Project Loon, an experiment which will see internet access delivered to remote and rural areas using a network of balloons and solar-powered drones.

Facebook's plan to connect the world is called internet.org and relies on the support of mobile phone networks around the world to provide free access to services such as search, weather and of course Facebook.

While GEO satellites are more expensive to build, they need less maintenance than LEO satellites and are typically much more powerful.