Updated: Jul 8, 2021
Love him or loathe him Elon Musk is changing the world. His reasoning behind SpaceX, his space transportation company is of course that humanity needs to leave the Earth to find more resources. We agree. And it may have the peripheral benefit of encouraging us to focus on something bigger - perhaps help us think as a species, rather than as nations.
However, he has courted his fair share of controversy. From the cameo role he played in the court room drama between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, to his Twitter engagement of the blockchain universe. That's before discussing his business exploits with Tesla and the its associated controversies of heady, perhaps bubbly, share prices and his ebullient Tweets about the company, which have raised the hackles of the SEC.
With that said, the Starlink project is another one of Musk's innovative gems, with oceans of potential.
Through a network of 1,500 satellites to date, with operations in about a dozen countries, Starlink will beam broadband across the world, with the exception of the polar regions. It's satellites will sit closer to the Earth (increasing transmission efficiency) and beam an internet signal directly to a terminal on the ground.
The company's website suggests speeds from 50 to 150 Mbs is plausible and Mr Musk suggesting they would aim to double that soon.
If it is successful, it will be a game changer in the the global availability of broadband and thus accelerating the compression of the knowledge gap, creating immense opportunities and value.
The downside is that the current cost of delivering broadband through this mechanism is high, and so isn’t currently a good substitute for conventional infrastructure. The internet service itself is expected to cost $99 per month and the initial equipment a further $500. Though as with all innovation, optimists amongst us could hope that costs will tend to come down over time.
Starlink's "Better Than Nothing" beta programme perhaps says it all. If you are in a part of the world with no internet, this could prove to be pretty valuable.
Whilst its potential on Earth is exciting, no doubt Mr Musk has non-terrestrial plans for the technologies. How else will we have broadband on Mars?
Pocket-lint article here:
Bloomberg story here (limited free articles, then subscription):
Wikipedia here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starlink