Last month, Elon Musk’s company SpaceX was granted permission by the FCC to build and deploy over 4000 satellites into Earth’s orbit in order provide affordable, high-speed Internet across the United States and around the globe.
FCC’s Authorization Memo can be read here:
I think this is pretty freaking cool! And will be a game changer in the ISP-realm. Assuming they can pull off decent transfer rates and have good reliability, I could see this disrupting the cell phone and current satellite-based internet market (DISH, Viasat, HughesNet, etc.). Also, being bound by FCC regulations, unlike Facebook and other’s satellite Internet programs, they will be required to keep consumers in mind.
In theory, speeds and latency should actually be surprisingly good considering the relatively close distance and the way they plan on handling hops / routing.
With typical satellite internet, you go from the ground up to the satellite, only for it to go straight back down to a hub/ground station and be routed on the ground, round trip, and then come back up, and then back down to you. In theory, this should be: from ground up to the satellite, satellite routes to/through other satellites closest to destination (in vacuum), roundtrip, back down to you.
SpaceX wants to launch 4,425 satellites into low-Earth orbits, with altitudes ranging from 715 miles to 823 miles. By contrast, the existing HughesNet satellite network has an altitude of 22,000 miles.
SpaceX expects its own latencies to be between 25 and 35ms, similar to the latencies measured for wired Internet services. Current satellite ISPs have latencies of 600ms or more, according to FCC measurements.
This is the biggest difference. On hughesnet I get about 500ms ping to anything. Closer satellites = much lower ping. Also most satellite providers limit you to 10 or 20GB per month.
I have a coworker on Hughesnet and it’s dog shit. To hop on a google hangout he has to tether on LTE. Which begs the question of why he didn’t just go with AT&T rural LTE in the first place, but he didn’t know better at the time and signed a contract.
Same. Dream of mine to get a place in the middle of nowhere, but still be connected for work. Nothing gets me harder than the idea of gigabit internet out in bum fuck nowhere.
True, but maybe he could accomplish more by focusing.
It seem like his wealth comes from generating expectations instead of value, and someday that will create an issue that others will pay for.
Like what that Brazilian guy did a few years ago, became one of the richest man’s in the world by creating a company that was promising to pump out oil, sucked investors and government money for years, till it was discovered that it was all for nothing. Everyone lost money, including the government, which basically means taxes.
For me I have 4g LTE in my truck which works out in the rural areas we visit, but to move out there permanently I would need something like this satellite product as there is no home based 4G LTE affordable equivalent to the $20/mo unlimited in my truck. Can’t even get 100GB for $100 afaik for a home 4G station. Presumably because they figure you will use more in your home than vehicle.
Also, musk doesn’t need to succeed. Just like google fiber announcing places but not rolling out successfully, just their announcement got the competition to up their offerings (like at&t 1gig fiber for $70).