Musk's idea is that hundreds of satellites in low-Earth orbit would get information around the world much faster, and be provide better Internet service for "people in sparsely populated areas." Once the folks in the terrestrial hinterlands are taken care of, Musk envisions the network providing the foundation for a satellite network that would provide Earth-to-Mars communications to the Mars-based colony that the SpaceX CEO expects will wear company branding.
The idea isn't new - one of Musk's peers is working on the same concept, backed by Qualcomm and the Virgin Group. But Musk says that OneWeb, the competitor, has a different concept for the underlying architecture and that his satellites would be "an order of magnitude more sophisticated." If you're trying to figure out what the area code to Mars is, you're way ahead of things: Musk says the terrestrial satellite system won't be ready for at least five years. And since the average distance to Mars is 140 million miles, it'll probably be a few years after that before you can shoot a text to the Spirit and Opportunity rovers.