Google, Facebook, or even Elon Industries know that. They aren't really trying to look cool while doing public service. They know the problem with a ground-based solution is neither lack of technology nor environmental. The problem is actually scale: when you start projects based on premises such as "universal", "ubiquitous", "unlimited" or "free/cheap", not even big companies can supply all of those due to obvious political reasons, such as those that bolster fair competition. Let's consider major gov'mt lobby poker Google, for instance - if they decided to extend their internet providing services to wireless in the US alone, they would pretty much have to spend billions to topple AT&T's (among others) influence on the administration. It would just make it too costly to actually provide the "free/cheap" service, and would probably imply restrictions to the other two as a trade-off, becoming effectively not "universal" nor "ubiquitous". They already have problems like that with Google Fiber (why are only some cities getting such a great service? You guessed right, existing cable company influence is blocking all newcomers on a political level), and wireless is just a much harsher market due to players being so well positioned. Now scale that to the entire world, with 200'ish countries to lobby. This goes without saying that quasi-orbital (and orbital) solutions such as balloons and satellites actually scale rather easily with minimal costs, even considering maintenance. Suffice to say, it is much easier to have this cool looking, bleeding edge solution that few will have the power to contest, due to universally acclaimed common good and obvious technological prowess (but eventually, stupid ways will be found for that, and stupid arguments will be made. Just look at Uber's case...).