Realist, not conformist analysis of the latest financial, business and political news

Starlink. A Gamechanger?

From our Swindon Correspondent:

I’ve become rather obsessed with Starlink. To anyone not in the know, it’s a system of satellites in geostationary orbit, being run by SpaceX, which is one of Elon Musk’s things. There’s currently 1200 satellites up there, If you have a special dish and a subscription, you can get the internet in most of the world. It seems to not be covering north of Inverness yet, and I guess some points at the southern end of the world, but a lot of the world is done.

It currently does this by the satellite receiving and sending data back to a ground station, which then connects to fibre internet, but the eventual plan is to have satellites with lasers, and these satellites will create a chain for messages, so you send a message, it goes to a satellite and gets relayed across space to a satellite near the place you need to get it to, and they receive it.

Why would you do that? Well, because people want faster message speeds. Fibre optic cable is pretty fast, at around 124,000 miles per second. But if you send a message via laser in a vacuum, you’re closer to the speed of light. And the suggestion is that for various sorts of automatic trading, that might give an edge. I don’t know enough about this myself to say.

The other side of this is that while those satellites aren’t floating above New York, London and Frankfurt, they’re going around the rest of the world. They’re crossing Sudan, Afghanistan, Mongolia. Apart from lasers in space being cool, that brings economic advantages. Getting the internet to people connects them to the world, improves trade. The effect of the undersea cable on the west coast of Africa is that Microsoft are now doing software development work in Kenya and Nigeria. If you can get it to people in Chad, it’s going to have a similar effect.

I’m sure at first, the cost is going to be prohibitive for most people in these places, but you only need a few people making money from technology to start creating more of it. Maybe we get call centres in Laos and Burkina Faso, spinning up more development locally in other ways?

Maybe I’m dreaming, but it feels like technology that could really change a lot of people’s lives in a very positive way.

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Total
1
Shares
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
16 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Addolff
Addolff
1 month ago

Speaking from an English perspective, where only the remotest of places have poor / no internet, why would we want to use Starlink, a cutting edge, modern technology system, hyper-fast, private enterprise which cost the taxpayer nothing, when we could have a government organised system of stone age technology cable to every one of the remotest places in the UK for billions and billions of pounds?

MrVeryAngry
MrVeryAngry
30 days ago
Reply to  Addolff

When my MP visited and told me how he and his lot were going to get me 4g to my house in the sticks I told him to bugger off and stop wasting mine and other people’s money as Starlink would sort it without that and he could then cut my taxes – tax being one of the the things he does not pay, being paid by the taxpayer as he is. He hasn’t been back to see me since.

Wiggers
Wiggers
1 month ago

They are not geostationary, they’re in low earth orbit.

John Galt
1 month ago

Sure, but the biggest shakeup is going to be in the rural US, Southern Canada and the EU where monopoly internet providers have been free to charge extortionate sums for shitty internet speeds. Even at $500 install and $100 a month the costs are comparable with rural Comcast services before you even get to bandwidth availability and download caps.

Balam
Balam
1 month ago

I just love it because it’s cool 🙂
But can’t really justify spending twice as much as what internet currently costs me.

jgh
jgh
1 month ago
Reply to  Balam

Satellite Internet! With frikkin’s lasers!

Bloke on M4
Bloke on M4
1 month ago
Reply to  Balam

It is cool!

But also, if you’re in a remote place, £99/month is nothing compared to getting a load of fibre optic out to you. And I’m certain people are going to split that at first. Go to the bar, pay to get internet. If you can get 60mbps, you can split that 30 ways and give people reasonable internet.

Snarkus
Snarkus
1 month ago

there are a many placed in first world where slow or no network is affordable if possible. Second and third world countries more so. Low Earth orbit mesh network satellites doing the backhaul may reduce costs where surface providers are making monopoly profits. Certainly true for me only 65 km from center of Oz Federal capital where I have to use a geosynchrous satellite service to get any speed or capacity. Fortunately I dont do gaming.

Joshua
Joshua
1 month ago

It’s already reasonably cheap in the UK. More expensive than broadband of equal speed in an urban area, but pretty well priced in a rural area with poor connectivity.

Climan
Climan
1 month ago

It gives people the ability to opt out of the costs and hassle of using the telephone network, supposedly in private hands, but BT Openreach is a monopoly.

bloke in spain
bloke in spain
30 days ago

The other thing, of course, is that it’ll move the internet away from being controllable by government. On the other hand, it’ll be controlled by Elon Musk. Is that an improvement?

Spike
Spike
30 days ago
Reply to  bloke in spain

Of course, if new players can enter the market.

Balam
Balam
30 days ago
Reply to  bloke in spain

It would be lovely if that were true, but I strongly suspect that there is going to have to be lots of back-room dealing with each country to get the authorisations, or something. I can’t imagine China (and soon Russia) just sitting back and saying “yeah, no worries”. And quite apart from them, there’s old Five Eyes too who will probably want their cut. And to answer your question, yes, I trust Elon Musk (who has a face) far more than the myriad unknown bureaucrats who are protected by the full power of the law and the state, even while… Read more »

Michael van der Riet
Michael van der Riet
30 days ago
Reply to  Balam

The problem in China and NK is the antenna. Which can be concealed yeah, but if discovered means they take you out in the back yard and give you a cigarette. When Starlink can be received on a smartphone, now we’re talking.

Quentin Vole
Quentin Vole
30 days ago

You need a decent sized aerial and/or significant amounts of power to uplink to a satellite (current sat-phones resemble zeroth generation mobile phones in size and weight). I doubt it will ever be possible with something the size and shape of today’s smartphones.

Can you help support Continental Telegraph?

If you can spare a few pounds you can donate to our fundraising campaign below. All donations are greatly appreciated and go towards our server, security and software costs. 25,000 people per day read our sites and every penny goes towards our fight against the Establishment. We don't take a wage and do what we do because we enjoy it and hope our readers enjoy it too.


Donate
16
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x