Remember all those Elon Musk grand plans for Space X, and all those satellites that they were launching. Well now they are seeing the fruits of their labour. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) just authorized SpaceX to launch its broadband satellite service, Starlink. That means Americans could be accessing the internet from space as early as 2019.
So what does this all mean. The Starlink service will work a lot like wi-fi, except instead of needing to find a hot spot, entire sections of the country could get internet access. The proposed system will include 4,425 low-orbit satellites that will beam connectivity with frequencies in the Ka and Ku bands. It actually works exactly like the wireless service on many airplanes, except SpaceX promises fiber-fast speeds. The system is expected to go online next year, after SpaceX gets at least a whooping 800 satellites in orbit.
And this is definitely good news for Space X. Very good news. “We appreciate the FCC’s thorough review and approval of SpaceX’s constellation license,” said Gwynne Shotwell, President and Chief Operating Officer at SpaceX. “Although we still have much to do with this complex undertaking, this is an important step toward SpaceX building a next-generation satellite network that can link the globe with reliable and affordable broadband service, especially reaching those who are not yet connected.”
What's more? It’s going to make connectivity possible in places that might not even get dialup service. According to the FCC, some 34.5 million Americans don’t have access to fixed and mobile broadband where they live. This includes rural areas as well as parts of cities that have been neglected by the Comcasts and Charters of the world. Starlink also stands to increase competition in the historically monopoly-driven internet business. After all, the majority of Americans only have one choice for an internet provider. The new SpaceX system could fix this.
So next time you see Elon whether on the street, or on Twitter make sure that you greet him. And thank him for Space X.