Elon Musk is a man who knows quite a bit about satellite internet. He’s the CEO of SpaceX and has already launched several satellites into orbit in order to provide internet access to more consumers across the globe. Since he’s considered one of the richest people in the world, it’s rather easy for him to get his company rolling and to work on the technology that’s needed to provide the fastest satellite service to date, which is something that he should happen in the near future.
Looking to the Stars
Starlink is the venture that Musk has crafted. The goal is to get enough satellites in orbit so that almost everyone in the world has at least the option of connecting to the internet if they want. It’s taken several years for the satellites to be developed that have been and will be launched into orbit. Musk has also secured over $880 million in grants from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in order to help with technology, equipment, and launching. After increasing production in 2021, SpaceX launched over 1,000 satellites. There have been several launches since then that have been successful in deploying dozens of satellites to go along with them, resulting in almost 2,000 that are in orbit that are functioning.
A Growing Business
Musk revealed in February last year that Starlink was serving about 10,000 customers at the time with more people showing interest in the services offered especially this pandemic era as people are working from home, kids are on online classes and their source of entertainment like watching their favorite TV shows and movies on their favorite streaming platforms like Netflix, Sling TV or playing online games. Preorders are being taken so that more customers will be able to connect as soon as the system is in place. Starlink has also released a second-generation satellite dish that customers can use at home for their internet services. Another option that Starlink is considering is offering internet services to passengers while they fly. Over 100,000 pieces of equipment have been sent to customers across the world in over a dozen countries with more being manufactured and sent each month.
Musk spoke in front of an audience at the Mobile World Congress in June 2021 about Starlink being available across the world in the second half of the year. The exception would be the North and South Poles. There does need to be regulatory approvals in place in some areas before Starlink can be established. The beta test phase was completed in October 2021, leading the way for SpaceX to increase production so that more customers can be reached and so that the internet services that are provided can be faster than what other satellite internet providers offer. Since there are thousands of customers waiting to be connected, it could take some time for the company to get caught up with the demand.
Some people in the scientific community have voiced their concerns about the number of satellites that Starlink has in orbit. Since they are lower than others that are in space, it can make it difficult to see the stars and planets at night. HughesNet, Viasat, and other satellite internet companies have seen the number of satellites that have been launched as well and have started a jousting of sorts to try to slow the speed of Musk launching more satellites in the future. Customers will typically see speeds that range between 50 and 150 megabits depending on where they live. As more satellites are deployed, the goal is to try to increase the speed to close to 200 Mbps.