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Elon Musk: SpaceX ready to roll out Starlink satellite internet

Posted by Neha De

October 6, 2021    |     3-minute read (492 words)

In 2020, the U.S. federal government awarded Elon Musk’s SpaceX, an aerospace manufacturer, space transportation services and communications corporation, $885.5 million to launch Starlink, a satellite company that aims to build a faster and more reliable internet service option for rural areas. A new type of satellite technology, Starlink uses low-orbit satellites. Low-orbit satellites reduce latency, which is the total time it takes for the signal to be transferred. 

In September, founder and CEO Musk announced that Starlink is ready to come out of its public beta phase in October. 

Even though fiber optic internet service will still provide speeds greater than Starlink’s internet service, the latter is being pegged as the ideal solution for rural areas that currently do not have access to internet services — Startlink’s internet can also be deployed at a much faster rate, for a significantly higher volume of individuals than fiber internet. 

How does SpaceX's Starlink actually work?

Starlink aims to bring high-speed satellite internet service to every corner of the planet, except the North and South Poles (which will also happen at a later date), through a mega constellation of satellites in low orbit around Earth, tweeted Musk.

Starlink uses a satellite to transmit a signal to a user’s home. First, the internet service provider gets the internet signal via fiber from satellites in space. Then, the signal is moved to a central location called a network operations center. Eventually, the internet provider transmits that signal to individual users. In the case of Starlink, internet users receive the signal using individual satellite dishes.

The Starlink system requires a constellation of nearly 12,000 satellites in low-Earth orbits that will beam continuous broadband internet service. SpaceX has already launched 1,800 satellites into space. “We’ve successfully deployed 1,800 or so satellites and once all those satellites reach their operational orbit, we will have continuous global coverage,” said SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell at the virtual Macquarie Technology Summit in June 2021, according to Reuters.

According to Starlink's website, during beta, users can expect to see data speeds vary from 50 Mbps to 150 Mbps and latency from 20 milliseconds to 40 milliseconds in most locations. The company expects those speeds to increase as its system is enhanced.

In April 2021, the Federal Communications Commission granted SpaceX permission to eventually deploy 12,000 satellites in total. to deploy more than 2,800 Starlink satellites at an orbit lower than 580 kilometers. 

When is coverage coming to your area?

This is the question on the minds of anyone using the internet today. After years of development within the company, and after securing almost $886 million in grant funds from the FCC, Starlink's progress seems to be accelerating. According to Musk, Starlink has shipped more than 100,000 satellite internet terminals to customers in 14 countries. When exactly will you get to experience Starlink’s internet is yet to be seen! 

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