SpaceX's Starlink satellites
Photo By: nextbigfuture.com
Brendan Derry, Business & Tech Editor
SpaceX, the innovative aerospace manufacturer, is developing a web of satellites that will surround the globe allowing for worldwide access to the technology. This satellite constellation called Starlink is expected to implement some twelvethousand individual modules orbiting the Earth by the year 2020.
The goal of this project is to create a web of satellites which will allow SpaceX to provide broadband internet to areas where ground-based towers are not feasible, as well as rural areas with little competition between internet service providers. This will allow for low cost internet with higher efficiency than those currently being used. Underdeveloped nations have large areas with little to no access to the internet and Starlink will be capable of giving reliable access to large towns with little infrastructure and remote areas where people may only be conducting research or traveling through. The concept is magnificent, as the idea of being able to access the internet from anywhere on the globe has been sought after since its inception. There are currently satellites that people rely on for internet access but they are only effective for certain ranges. A satellite constellation will communicate across itself and back to the ground, reducing all areas still in the dark. This could drastically improve the capabilities for rural or undeveloped areas to communicate amongst themselves and receive information for medicine or educational purposes.
In the United States, there is a considerably large issue which has been unresolved for years. People are forced to pay high fees for low quality service due to their town only having one choice of internet service providers. This happens in rural areas because some companies do not see a way to turn a profit of a town of a few hundred people considering the cost of the necessary infrastructure. In these cases, there is no competition as there typically is in a free market and the customers must pay whatever the company asks of them and there is really no way to obtain higher quality internet without moving altogether. Starlink may not become the top choice for these locations but having a competitor in the region will force costs down and quality up.
SpaceX is not the only company working on such projects and a number of other satellite constellations are being constructed now. The difference is the sheer size of the project. SpaceX has the financial and technological capabilities to impellent thousands of satellites which allow for nearly a zettabyte capacity per month to the world. To put this into perspective, that would mean five billion users could be given above average internet every month. With these types of projects under construction, the market for internet services have changed greatly and investors have been pulling funds from traditional sources and reallocating them into the new low-orbit satellite webs as many see these as the new wave of information communication.
The potential uses for such a vast array of satellites is growing and SpaceX understood this when they began this endeavor. Their plan is to aid the global community by providing internet, while also using the profits to help fund their mission to mars. Some satellites in this web will also be used by researchers of different organizations for effective means of gathering information on our atmosphere and space, as well as the travel of information on a global scale. Starlink is set to make massive waves in a massive market and change the way we receive or increasingly necessary internet access.