One of the downsides of being in a remote region in the world like the Australian outback or even in some rural villages is the slow speeds of internet where fibre hasn’t quite reached yet or isn’t economically viable to do so.
Elon Musk and Space X looks to solve all these issues with satellite internet constellation called Starlink.
What is Starlink?
The Starlink constellation will consist of thousands of small satellites in low Earth orbit, working in unison with ground transceivers.
The satellites can be used by you and me, military or even specialist research, allowing faster connections all over the world and in some of the most inhabitable environments where internet signal could prove to be a life saver. The cost of the decade-long project to design, build, and deploy the constellation was estimated by SpaceX in May 2018 to be at least US$10 billion.
As of September 2020, SpaceX was launching up to 60 satellites at a time, aiming to deploy 1,584 of the 260 kg (570 lb) spacecraft to provide near-global service by late 2021 or 2022.
Last month Space X confirmed Starlink is now available in parts of Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Northern England,” which is in addition to existing service areas across Southern England.
As more and more satellites are launched, the areas which are currently hit, and miss will receive better connection and better signal.
How many satellites will Space X launch?
ITs reported that by 2024, there might be as many as 4,425 in operation, exploding to 12,000 around 2026.
How much does this space age internet cost then?
Customers typically pay £89 per month for the service itself, plus £54 for shipping and £439 for the kit (dish, router etc.). It may not be the cheapest but if you are suffering from exceptionally poor internet, it may be worth considering.
How fast is fast?
During beta, users can expect to see data speeds vary from 50Mb/s to 150Mb/s over the next several months as Starlink system is enhanced. There will also be brief periods of no connectivity at all, which is unfortunate but that should only be until a satellite becomes in range in low earth orbit.
As Space X launch more satellites, install more ground stations, and improve the networking software, data speed, latency and uptime will improve dramatically.
So, there you have it. Do you suffer from extremely poor broadband in a rural area? Would you pay £89 per month? Let us know in the comments.