Space X May Soon Give The US Broadband Sector A Much Needed Kick In The Ass

from the competition-is-a-good-thing dept

Could Space X finally give the busted US telecom sector a much needed kick in the ass? Since 2017, Musk's Space X has been promising that it would launch 800 low orbit satellites capable of delivering cheaper, lower latency broadband to large swaths of the United States by 2020 or 2021. By and large Musk and company appear to have been successful sticking to that promise, insisting recently that this proposed timeline was "pretty much on target." That said, Musk had to fire some folks to ensure that the project was meeting its goals, which itself suggests they may not have been.

More recent government filings indicate that the company may be able to accelerate the deployment of fast low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites across broad swaths of the Southern US. The company says that a number of improvements were discovered in the wake of launching 60 LEO satellites back in May. In a filing (pdf), the company says an adjustment in orbital spacing and other efficiences may bring the service (which will be sold under the "Starlink" brand) online sooner and more broadly than expected:

"This adjustment will accelerate coverage to southern states and US territories, potentially expediting coverage to the southern continental United States by the end of the next hurricane season and reaching other US territories by the following hurricane season.

...SpaceX has demonstrated the effectiveness of its revolutionary deployment process and confirmed its ability to populate three orbital planes with a single launch. By then reorganizing its satellites at their already authorized altitude, SpaceX can place coverage and capacity more evenly and rapidly across more of the US."

Obviously it's way too early to know what kind of pricing we're talking about, but the smaller, mass produced satellites are expected to cost significantly less to deploy and maintain, meaning service pricing should be notably less than the heavily capped, throttled, and expensive satellite services we all know and love. There have been some rumblings that the service could clock in under $50 a month, but it's too early to know if that's going to be doable, or whether the service will be rife with annoying usage limits, throttling, or other restrictions (ensuring it's not a truly symmetrical competitor to something like fiber to the home).

All of that said, there are still reasons to keep expectations in check. This being Musk, hype could be overshadowing reality. The service could also launch with a number of the same arbitrary, cash-grabbing restrictions we've seen developing in the cellular space, something that could get worse in the wake of the death of net neutrality and FCC authority. It's also worth noting that there have been a laundry list of similar efforts that have been just as aggressively hyped that have gone absolutely nowhere, thanks to the complicated economic factors involved in, you know, space:

The history of satellite internet, however, is defined by failure, including one of the largest corporate bankruptcies in history. This was a reality Elon Musk candidly acknowledged to reporters ahead of the Starlink launch. “No one has ever succeeded in making a viable low Earth orbit communication constellation right off the bat,” Musk said. “I do believe we’ll be successful, but it is far from a sure thing."

The other x-factor is AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast, companies that have a thirty year history of doing everything in their power to stifle newly emerging alternatives to their expensive, unpopular services. The three companies all but own countless state legislatures and a significant portion of Congress, who'll all be doing their best (as they have for decades) to ensure that nothing disrupts the existing, uncompetitive cash cow that is the US residential broadband market. Space X will also have to do battle with a number of other deep-pocketed giants (like Amazon) that have been eyeing the space as a potential disruption play.

Still, the promise being made by low-orbit satellites is hard to ignore. But given the power of entrenched players and telecom history, it probably makes sense to keep enthusiasm in check until we have actual, widespread commercial deployment at a price point that's actually appealing to the millions of Americans desperately craving more, better broadband options.

Filed Under: broadband, competition, elon musk, leo satellites, satellite interent
Companies: spacex


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  • icon
    hij (profile), 18 Sep 2019 @ 2:57am

    Like flies to vinegar

    What is it about broadband that attracts grifters selling snake oil? Internet access is like the keto diet plan of technology.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2019 @ 8:57am

      Re: Like flies to vinegar

      Dinosaurs like you should stick to becoming fossils and leave technology to the people who use it.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2019 @ 4:34am

    how long before the first of the many law suits that i'm sure will be filed by AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and, to an extent, even the lesser companies that the 'big boys' haven't already managed to bribe Congress to kicking into touch?

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    • identicon
      Iggy, 18 Sep 2019 @ 7:06am

      Re:

      Lawsuits? The satellites were approved by none other than Ajit Pai himself. He knows satellite internet will never work and is just another distraction like broadband over powerlines. When has Elon Musk ever delivered anything the vast majority can use? Even if it does work, limited orbital capacity means a monopoly by SpaceX for the foreseeable future

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2019 @ 7:56am

        Re: Re:

        When has Elon Musk ever delivered anything the vast majority can use?

        You mean like the Tesla and hybrid power systems for the home? Or are you talking about something cheap enough for the nation's poor to afford? Cause he's not been in business for the latter thus far so he's never promised such a thing until this satellite internet deal. And it's still too early to tell if this will work out.

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        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 19 Sep 2019 @ 5:09am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "You mean like the Tesla and hybrid power systems for the home? Or are you talking about something cheap enough for the nation's poor to afford?"

          Musk has done a lot of functional stuff but let's be honest - most of what he's managed to accomplish consisted of long-existing tech he was able to market in a way which made it seem new and trendy.

          As for this satellite idea...I'd say it's a PR stunt or a way to get new investors into his space X program. I very much doubt that his orbiting shoebox routers can circumvent the laws of physics to the point where they can run thousands of broadband access point between orbit and earth - each.

          My prediction is it'll end up as orbital equivalent of 14.4k modems or just not scale beyond a few thousand having access at any given time.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2019 @ 9:18am

        Re: Re:

        Actually there are 4 other companies looking to compete with Starlink.
        Project Kuiper - Amazon
        OneWeb
        And Facebook

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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 18 Sep 2019 @ 5:49am

    In space legacy telcos can't own poles...

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  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 18 Sep 2019 @ 6:15am

    I hope

    I hope SpaceX doesn't screw it up by offering Cable TV content along with internet service.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2019 @ 6:23am

    i like how we are measuring time now by hurricane seasons.

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    • identicon
      stine, 18 Sep 2019 @ 6:50am

      Re:

      I'm sure his comment was referring to the utter devistation in the Bahamas, and that can happen during any hurricane season.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2019 @ 6:27am

    Competing with fiber is not needed for Starlink to succeed.

    ensuring it's not a truly symmetrical competitor to something like fiber to the home

    There is no need to compete with fiber, or even the high-end cable offerings. The availability of those services is very limited. It only gets rolled out where it will make the most money. Even in cities like New York you will find large sections of the city (especially the less affluent neighborhoods) where fiber is not an option or there is no competition at all and what is there does not come close to meeting the advertised service.

    Outside of cities, there are rural areas where dial-up is still the only option. Even when it's not fiber is rarely an option.

    Starlink only has to compete with the middle of the road internet in cities and the low end of speed and reliability in rural areas. If it can give you a reliable 10Mbps with latency under 100ms it's going to be a big hit at the low end and in rural markets. Get it up to 25Mbps and the incumbents will have to do something about the poorly maintained areas of cities.

    That's still a huge risk for Starlink. Can it hit those latencies (current satalite is around 500ms latency)? Can it hit a price point on par with the crappy service? Will it be able to handle the bandwidth if it is a success? There are a lot of question. But Mr. Musk has surprised us in the past.

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    • identicon
      urza9814, 18 Sep 2019 @ 8:12am

      Re: Competing with fiber is not needed for Starlink to succeed.

      I'm no expert, but as I understand it most of the latency from satellite broadband is due to the time delay of sending the signals up to the satellite and back down to the receiver. Current satellite internet systems seem to use a small number of satellites in geosynchronous orbit 35,000 kilometers up. That would mean nearly 440ms of latency just to ping the receiving station (~110ms to cover 35k km, times four to make the round trip) assuming zero processing delay, so that matches your 500ms number. Starlink is planned to orbit at an altitude of 550 kilometers, which should let it do that same round-trip in under 10ms. That could easily be comparable to terrestrial broadband in terms of latency.

      So latency shouldn't be much of an issue; if pricing is good then I guess the problem would be total bandwidth available in the system. Getting data between satellites probably isn't much of an issue, if you can keep it on target I'd guess a laser ought to be as good as a fiber link, but to get back to the ground stations they're using radio where they might have more limitations on the available spectrum.

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      • icon
        JoeCool (profile), 18 Sep 2019 @ 8:50am

        Re: Re: Competing with fiber is not needed for Starlink to succe

        In case someone is wondering why it's times four: times one to send a request to the satellite; times two for the satellite to forward the request to a server on Earth; times three for the server to send a response to the satellite; times four for the satellite to relay the response to the user.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2019 @ 9:40am

          Re: Re: Re: Competing with fiber is not needed for Starlink to s

          SpaceX was planning a space backbone, last I heard. Not only does that eliminate the middle down+up step, light travels 50% faster in space than in fiber (although the straight-line distance is somewhat longer at that altitude). The break-even point is somewhere around 1000 km IIRC; if sending data beyond that distance, it's faster to go up to space and back down than to send it through fiber (...in theory, assuming forwarding delays are no worse than with fiber).

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          • identicon
            urza9814, 18 Sep 2019 @ 11:37am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Competing with fiber is not needed for Starlink

            A "space backbone" still won't eliminate the middle down and up step, it'll just reduce any delays after that. The only way to eliminate the middle down+up step would be to put actual datacenters into orbit.

            Best case, if I'm in Rhode Island and the datacenter is in California, it goes up to the satellite over RI, bounces to the satellite over CA, and then down to the datacenter. Then it's gotta go back up and across the satellites to get back. That's better than current systems which would bounce up to the satellite, then down to a receiver in Kansas or something, and then route over terrestrial cables to get from Kansas to CA...but the ground to space steps are the same, the only change would be where they terminate.

            I think the main reason for the space backbone though would be due to the reduced coverage area. Satellites flying that low can't see as much of the ground, and they aren't stationary relative to the ground. So you can't guarantee that the satellite you're uploading to is going to be within sight of a ground receiver. That means you have to be able to hand that traffic from one satellite to the other until it reaches somewhere with a good path down.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2019 @ 12:28pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Competing with fiber is not needed for Starl

              The only way to eliminate the middle down+up step would be to put actual datacenters into orbit.

              You're right, I was confusing it with the centralized satellite uplink used in some current networks (to space, down to central, to the server and back over fiber from there, then back up to space and down).

              It's hard for me to guess whether orbiting datacenters are a crazy sci-fi idea or something we might see soon. It's not hard to imagine SpaceX getting major benefits from some Netflix and CDN caches up there.

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              • icon
                JoeCool (profile), 20 Sep 2019 @ 9:07am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Competing with fiber is not needed for S

                Having the data center in space would solve a number of problems, like pesky countries raiding your data center because Hollywood says it's a hub of piracy. I'd love to see the FBI try to get to a server in orbit! :)

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          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 19 Sep 2019 @ 5:15am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Competing with fiber is not needed for Starlink

            "The break-even point is somewhere around 1000 km IIRC; if sending data beyond that distance, it's faster to go up to space and back down than to send it through fiber (...in theory, assuming forwarding delays are no worse than with fiber)."

            That's assuming a lot. Fiber has the advantage of being able to carry pulsed unidirectional light around corners with no need to aim in order to hit the receptor.

            In Space you either go for a wideband transmission - at which point energy supply becomes a critical bottleneck - or you need a way to accurately aim pulsed laser light across thousands of clicks and switch between receptor targets instantly.

            The 50% gain of speed light has in a vacuum vs fiber can't make much of a difference at the ranges discussed.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2019 @ 2:47pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Competing with fiber is not needed for Starl

              or you need a way to accurately aim pulsed laser light across thousands of clicks and switch between receptor targets instantly.

              Switch? I'd imagine they'd have several lasers, each tracking one satellite. Or is that a harder problem than I think?

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              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 20 Sep 2019 @ 2:47am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Competing with fiber is not needed for S

                "Switch? I'd imagine they'd have several lasers, each tracking one satellite. Or is that a harder problem than I think?"

                It is.

                Consider keeping a laser pointer steady on a target receiver the size of a palm, at a distance of a thousand miles or more. While both sender and receiver are moving at significant speed. Now imagine that said laser has to pulse data at a frequency of 10 million pulses/second or more and every pulse must hit the receiver dead center. Now add more targets you need to maintain this type of linkage with, each moving separately.

                Possible, yes...in laboratory environments where you've got a hundred tons of specialized jitter-free support pylons propping everything up. In theory also possible in near-earth orbit.

                More likely then that the cubesats use semi-directional radio. But at that point you collide right hard with the same laws of electromagnetism which we know from our phone networks. higher frequency (and thus data transmission speed) means a signal strength drop proportional to the distance squared.

                3G speeds are technically possible within 30-100 miles. Using a lot of engineering and a lot of signal redundancy that may get boosted. But I dare claim that at the distances each cubesat will have to transmit it won't be practically possible to exceed the speeds of and old-style modem.

                Using distributed mesh networking to push data through multiple pathways might be possible - but can that solution scale? Starlink is supposed to cater to millions of users simultaneously, according to Musk.

                I've experienced a bit too much of overhyped IT solutions turning out to be a large dose of very expensive snake oil so until Musk can actually present a working proof of concept I'm inclined to think this won't work.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2019 @ 12:04pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Competing with fiber is not needed f

                  Consider keeping a laser pointer steady on a target receiver the size of a palm, at a distance of a thousand miles or more. While both sender and receiver are moving at significant speed.

                  No great problem in space, where you do not have wind, heavy trucks and other sources of vibration to move your point of aim about.

                  Using distributed mesh networking to push data through multiple pathways might be possible - but can that solution scale?

                  From what I have seen, the main use of that is to link to the best satellite to get back to the ground. Therefore the swarm of satellites is not one big mesh network, but rather lots of little mesh networks, each with its own up and down link. Ok, orbital mechanics mean those meshes are reconfigured on the fly, but in a very predictable pattern.

                  It is telling that Spaces is going from its first flock of satellites to a system build out, which would indicate that the mesh technology is working well in practice, otherwise the would be some plan for further test being advertised.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2019 @ 8:51am

        Re: Re: Competing with fiber is not needed for Starlink to succe

        The other consideration is that a satellite footprint covers a large area, which is not a problem for rural coverage, but a huge problem for urban coverage. If you live in the Rockies or similar place of low population density, this will give you broadband with capacity to spare, live in New York city, and the system will become congested fairly quickly.

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        • icon
          JoeCool (profile), 20 Sep 2019 @ 9:09am

          Re: Re: Re: Competing with fiber is not needed for Starlink to s

          That's why so many satellites. If you have a dozen satellites in range, that spreads the load so that no single satellite has to carry it all.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2019 @ 6:43am

    Instead of everybody being in a rush to provide the latest/greatest streaming service, I wish everybody were in a rush to provide their own low cost broadband service.
    dreams...

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  • identicon
    M. Practical, 18 Sep 2019 @ 7:29am

    800 low orbit satellites will not eventuate.

    Cost and complexity will stop this, already at edge of practical.

    Further, in the dozens of launches needed will be come a major explosion that puts future of SpaceX in doubt.

    This IS rocket science, and it's not changed since the 1960's: can't be made much more efficient nor safe, they're barely controlled explosions.

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    • icon
      evilhamsterman (profile), 18 Sep 2019 @ 3:16pm

      Re: 800 low orbit satellites will not eventuate.

      The article is actually off by several orders of magnitude for the full constillation. SpaceX plans to have 12,000 LEO satellites launched by the mid 2020s. 800 is just the minimum to provide moderate coverage. That being said they can launch 60 at a time from a standard Falcon. They only need to do 14 launches, assuming no losses, to hit that number and they plan on 24 launches next year.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2019 @ 7:45am

    According to SpaceX, they plan to have nearly 12,000 satellites. Not 800!!! But let's go with 800 satellites. These things have a 5-year lifespan because they are in low earth orbit.

    Launching 60 at a time, which is a lot packed into the cone of a rocket, do the math. To get 800 into space, they need just over 13 launches. Let's round down and call it 13. I would space it out to the 5 years. So about 3 launches per year, FOREVER!!!! That puts up 180 Satellites per year and in 5 years you have 800 up or so up. But you'll have 180 that have reached their 5 year lifespan and so have to start putting up the next 180 the following year. Every year 180 have reached their lifespan and so 180 more need to be launched.

    So SpaceX has to do about 3 launches per year just to keep their Starlink operating!!! That's at 800. But last I heard, it was 12,000 of these things!!!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starlink_(satellite_constellation)

    To get that many up requires 200 launches. Or 40 per year forever!!! Which means 3-4 launches per month FOREVER or until they give up on StarLink.

    It seems pretty costly to me. What we really need is to get rid of these government-created monopolies. We should allow Comcast, TMC, and others, to compete in the same city's. These companies are better when they actually have real competition.

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    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 18 Sep 2019 @ 9:00am

      Re:

      Five years is how long they will stay in orbit WITHOUT corrections. All Starlink satellites have thrusters to correct their orbits and should last much longer than 5 years. The 5 years figure is in the case of a satellite going dead and not responding to commands - it will gradually fall out of orbit and burn up in five years.

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    • icon
      James Burkhardt (profile), 18 Sep 2019 @ 9:29am

      Re:

      The government is not the biggest impediment to Comcast, TMC, Et al, from competing. Its infrastructure. Specifically, privately owed fiber that delivers internet and TV service in most areas. Direct TV and Dish (when they were both independent) competed with each other and competed with the local wireline networks. But wireline networks are expensive, and overbuilding to produce competition does not improve the market the way a new burger joint might.

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    • identicon
      Patrick, 18 Sep 2019 @ 12:57pm

      Re:

      It may seem crazy, however SpaceX has been averaging around 20 launches a year for commercial customers already, and they have the capacity to to add plenty more internal launches for Starlink. Three Starlink launches a year would be easily doable. They could probably do 10-20 additional Starlink launches with existing Falcon hardware.

      However the real game changer is their new Starship rocket under development. When that comes online in a couple years, they'll be able to carry a lot more than just 60 satellites into orbit at a time. They have a bit of a chicken and egg problem right now because they need the revenue from the initial phase of Starlink to fund completion of Starship, but once Staship is operating, they'll be able to build out the rest of the network rapidly.

      When evaluating the future of Starlink, I think people underestimate how much of an advantage SpaceX will get by having their own fully reusable Saturn V class launcher.

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  • icon
    ladyattis (profile), 18 Sep 2019 @ 8:20am

    Wow naysayers...

    Seriously, I'm no Elon stan here but the principle of the satellite network he's proposing isn't novel it's just hasn't been cheap enough until now. You have to remember many satellites were and are one of a kind construction. What's he's doing is taking the academic cubesat stuff and making it into commercial products to carry point-to-point communications which isn't hard at all. You can make a 'wifi gun' here on old Earth with some copper sheeting and steel rods for around twenty bucks give or take another forty for the tools (assuming you don't have them). It's the same idea, launch sats with directional antennas in LEO relatively evenly spaced so they can relay data between themselves and down to their uplink/downlink stations or just broadcast most generally (assuming their onboard routers are up to such an aggressive regimen).

    Seriously, there's lots of things to go after Elon Musk for (pedo guy defamation, overstating the reliability and safety of self-driving cars, being anti-union) but this one ain't it.

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    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 19 Sep 2019 @ 5:34am

      Re: Wow naysayers...

      "You can make a 'wifi gun' here on old Earth with some copper sheeting and steel rods for around twenty bucks give or take another forty for the tools (assuming you don't have them)."

      Which is true enough, but the difference is that directed wifi has a range less than 1/1000 of what Elon needs his satellites to accomplish. And the laws of electromagnetism have some serious bad news to offer when it comes to bandwidth at the frequency required to beat the range equation.

      It might work, but if the network carries data beyond the old GSM standard, count me VERY surprised.

      And that's assuming the cubesat can scale - which i'm not convinced of.

      The real danger is if it actually works. Near earth orbit is already a junkyard but Starlink, kuiper, and all the other planned satellite constellations actually stand a decent chance of turning most orbital locations into shrapnel fields

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  • icon
    timlash (profile), 18 Sep 2019 @ 12:02pm

    Starlink Misinformation

    80-90% of ISP consumers will not have access to Starlink. The Starlink constellation is not designed to serve urban areas. The bandwidth demand in cities would overwhelm any satellites overhead. Starlink will address the hundreds of millions of potential broadband customers in rural areas around the globe. Plus they will serve some commercial clients needing high speed low-latency global communications like high frequency traders. We urban dwellers in the US coping with monopoly/duopoly broadband solutions will not be affected by Starlink. Sadly.

    That's why I believe Starlink impact will be smaller than expected for most folks. In the US, Comcast/AT&T already don't want to fuss with the rural challenge. They are happy to cede that market to Starlink.

    This calculus may change as competing satellite constellations come online.

    All that said, the market for Starlink is still huge and will transform internet access to those to whom access has always been a challenge.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2019 @ 9:30am

      Re:

      80-90% of ISP consumers will not have access to Starlink. The Starlink constellation is not designed to serve urban areas.

      That's not true. 100% of of ISP consumers will have access to it and is designed to serve urban areas. It has global coverage after all. Whether it's viable for consumers in a densely populated urban area is a valid question, though. And, as stated, if you have the choice between fiber, or something faster than low end broadband, and Starlink, your better bet is still going to be terrestrial ISPs. But to make a blanket statement that it's "not designed for urban areas" and those consumers "won't have access to it" is flat out incorrect. I'm sure that some consumers in urban areas that don't have access to cable or fiber (and yes, there are) will be able to make use of it.

      We urban dwellers in the US coping with monopoly/duopoly broadband solutions will not be affected by Starlink.

      Again, not true. It will have an impact, perhaps not as large of one as people are hoping for but it will have one. I'm sure there will be at least a few who will switch for various reasons, some just to spite their current ISP.

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  • icon
    ECA (profile), 18 Sep 2019 @ 12:06pm

    To much math..

    "A low Earth orbit (LEO) is an Earth-centered orbit with an altitude of 2,000 km (1,200 mi) or less (approximately one-third of the radius of Earth),[1] or with at least 11.25 periods per day (an orbital period of 128 minutes or less)"

    And I think they cant be Stationary..
    If its 1 Sat, its going to do allot of work for those that use it, as well as Signal lag, changing from different locations..

    It can/should be used for allot of things, but online gaming WONT use this. the delay estimated (4000km=2x2000km(up and down) is around 5.3 seconds. Even stockbrokers wont use that..
    And EVEN if they can relay from 1 sat to the next...its a radio signal. its NOT the speed of light.
    Even if they use a Major HUB, and send it as a light signal. the time lag is not great because 90% of the USA does not have FIBER to the home to do it.
    https://royal.pingdom.com/theoretical-vs-real-world-speed-limit-of-ping/

    IF we had the perfect system, and nothing between the connections that would slow things down. There will still be delay in the signal.
    Otherwise, Hughes Corp would of had it up YEARS ago.
    (they had a sat tv corp, they got bought out)

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    • icon
      evilhamsterman (profile), 18 Sep 2019 @ 3:24pm

      Re: To much math..

      You really need to research how Starlink will work before you spew this old nonsense. I've seen someone spew this every time Starlink comes up. This IS NOT the old style 1-3 geostationary satellites which have to contend with the laws of physics creating huge lag. This, as stated in the article, hundreds and eventually thousands of low earth orbit sats with latency around 20-30ms similar to cable internet now. The latency in between continents, E.G. NY to London, is actually expected to be faster than the existing fiber lines because speed of light in a vacuum (between the satellites) is about twice as fast a the speed of light in glass.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2019 @ 8:10pm

      Re: To much math..

      And EVEN if they can relay from 1 sat to the next...its a radio signal. its NOT the speed of light.

      Now I have to ask how fast you think radio signals go, and what radio signals are if not a form of light.

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    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 20 Sep 2019 @ 9:18am

      Re: To much math..

      It can/should be used for allot of things, but online gaming WONT use this. the delay estimated (4000km=2x2000km(up and down) is around 5.3 seconds. Even stockbrokers wont use that..

      The lag is estimated at about 50-some milliseconds, not seconds.

      And EVEN if they can relay from 1 sat to the next...its a radio signal. its NOT the speed of light.

      Radio waves are light, just at a much lower frequency than visible light. As such, they do travel at the speed of light.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2019 @ 6:03pm

    I bet the one who bangs on about this in the comments at every opertunity is super happy.

    Hope we can avoid the inevitable effects of the Kessler Syndrome long enough for this to be some sort of meaningful competition.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2019 @ 2:19am

    We must be getting close to public space travel if they are already sending LEOs' out on patrol

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kreylix, 19 Sep 2019 @ 8:19pm

    Amazon should just acquire Space X.
    Apple should just acquire Space X.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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