How is Starlink Going to Affect Our Lives?
SpaceX, under the leadership of Elon Musk, continues to develop Starlink satellite Internet. It looks like the company’s goal – to cover the entire planet with communication – is close to being achieved. In any case, everything is heading towards this. But, in addition to coverage, there are other interesting tasks that Elon Musk recently talked about.
Elon Musk announced earlier this year that users of Starlink satellite terminals will be able to use them wherever they want – not just in their home. You can for example, put a satellite antenna on a trailer and travel to different countries. If the region has coverage, the user will have the internet. When and how is it planned to be implemented?
What Did Elon Musk Say?
The businessman said on Twitter that satellite Internet will become fully mobile this year. In order to achieve good coverage, more communication satellites will need to be launched into orbit.
Besides Twitter, there are other sources of information. SpaceX had to disclose part of the plan for the development of satellite Internet in its application to the US Federal Communications Commission. The application requests the possibility of deploying updated satellite terminals so that satellite Internet can be connected in a car, on a ship, or in an airplane/helicopter. In general, the Internet is everywhere.
- If the FCC approves the company’s application, Starlink will soon become fully mobile.
It is worth recalling that Dishy McFlatface (the moniker given to the equipment by SpaceX), the equipment for connecting to satellite Internet, is now supplied in its fixed version. But this is only a beta version of the connection program. Most likely, after the launch of the main project, the equipment will be truly autonomous. But for this to happen of course, several more tests will have to be carried out.
Now in the terms of the contract with the company, there is a clause that the terminal is intended “for use at the address indicated in the application.” However, some daredevils among the users carried antennas and received the Internet outside the home.
Over time, as the quality of service gets better, including uptime, bandwidth and latency. Users are talking about this, Musk himself says.
Is it Going to Cover the Entire Planet?
As mentioned above, the main goal of the project is to create a global satellite network to provide communications for the entire planet – and the company is actively moving along the intended path.
- Beta service provides bandwidth from 50 to 150 Mbps, with latency from 20 to 40 ms The more satellites in orbit, the better the performance. By the end of the year, Elon Musk promises 300 Mbps and coverage of most of the planet.
1,351 communications satellites are currently operating in low orbit. A total of 1,445 such systems were launched. However, some are in reserve, and some are deorbited and burned up in the atmosphere – they were destroyed after a refusal to work. While others till are simply being tested. But, of the satellites that remain, they are of good quality for communication.
- A total of 12,000 satellites are planned to be launched, with a further increase in this group (if allowed by the FCC) to 30,000.
Unfortunately, the system is currently only available in the United States, and only in some regions. Later, the geography of the service will be expanded, but the number of orders will still be limited. The limited service is understandable – at the moment, only beta testing is being carried out and so far there is no need for extra users.
The cost of the terminal is still $499 USD, and the price of communication services is $99 USD per month. The company has already said that pricing will remain transparent to users, and prices will remain affordable after the beta test ends. SpaceX now has permission from the regulator to deploy 1 million user terminals in the United States. In a new application, the FCC is already being asked to authorize 5 million terminals.
- To accelerate the development of the Starlink satellite network, the company is building a new plant in Austin. The plant will produce systems for the manufacturing of satellite dishes, Wi-Fi routers, installation and other equipment.
The new production will help keep up with the demand for the global Internet service. The construction of the factory is expected to accelerate the rollout of Starlink’s broadband satellite network.
The construction of the new plant became known not from the news, but from the announcement of a vacancy for the position of an automation and control engineer. The announcement states that the engineer will play a key role. The plant’s goal is to “produce millions of consumer-oriented devices.”
Problems Arising with Starlink
Companies are thwarted by competitors who are struggling to maintain the monopoly of land-based communications. The main argument against the Starlink project is that the company’s technologies have not yet been fully tested, and therefore, the network does not work everywhere.
- In a statement, competitors said: “The satellite network is still in beta testing, so communication is not available everywhere, but questions remain. At the same time, the satellite network has not yet demonstrated the combination of speed and latency previously promised by the company. ” In addition, the group believes that providing funds to companies that are just testing their technology is not a justifiable move on the part of the FCC. Moreover, SpaceX does not require significant external funding.
The Wall Street Journal recently published an article about an attempt to stop Musk. Competitors have banded together, adding regulators and experts to their coalition. All of them believe that “the billionaire is building an almost monopoly business, threatening the safety of people and vehicles in space, as well as harming the environment.”
Other satellite companies have complained that Musk satellites interfere with their own equipment by blocking signals.