A company called Titan Aerospace thinks gigantic solar powered drones could do better than satellites. Also, it's more cost effective.

The Solara 50 would be kept aloft by its 50 meter / 165 foot wings that are covered in solar panels, and could capture and convert enough power to keep it in flight all night long. The creators claim it that it can stay in the air for as long as five years without needing any maintenance. And unlike satellites, it would be able to return to Earth safely.

The Solara 50 would be equipped with wireless communications equipment to cover an area of 17,000 miles in size. According to IEEE Spectrum, a single craft with a cellular base station could replace over a hundred towers on the ground.

The company has already tested smaller versions of the Solara UAV and are optimistic about commercializing it within a year.  [Titan Aerospace via IEEE Spectrum]