SpaceX hinted at its ambitions this past January, but according to the Independent, the official request to launch satellites was only filed last week. SpaceX needs permission because it wants to put satellites in low Earth orbit, around 650km, to improve internet access in rural areas.
While the plan may be ambitious and expensive, it's for a good cause. The proposed customers for the service are the poorest populations in remote areas on earth. The plan is similar to projects by Facebook and Google which want to provide internet access through huge drones and balloons, respectively. If Musk's plan is not delayed the satellites could be in orbit within five years.