SpaceX outlined its plans to launch 4,425 satellites that will beam broadband internet across the world starting in 2019. Unlike current satellite based internet services, this will have high speed and low latency.
This is the same company that invented reusable orbital class rockets and plans to send humans to Mars. The satellites will be launched on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket. Its re-usability was recently demonstrated by launching a payload using a previously flown first stage.
The satellites will orbit between 1,110 to 1,325 kilometers above the earth. Meanwhile, a laptop-sized receiver is enough to subscribe to the service.
Too many satellites
However, the entire project still needs until 2024 for completion. There will also be different price points with the cheapest subscription having the lowest speed.
The sheer number of satellites for the mesh also increases the ‘traffic’ in low earth orbit and exacerbates the problem of space junk. It also needs control facilities on the ground.
Nevertheless, having a reliable internet infrastructure in space solves the problem of digging trenches underwater, laying fiber and dealing with property owners. It just has to be carefully studied.
An ISP in the future?
If properly implemented, SpaceX could be a viable Internet Service Provider in the future. PLDT and Globe Telecom might eventually have a formidable competitor. That’s if they offer their service here in the Philippines.
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