SpaceX wants to sell you satellite broadband internet — and have the U.S. government pay for it.
At least … pay for a part of it — the start-up part. According to Elon Musk, it’s going to cost in the neighborhood of $10 billion to build a planned satellite constellation of 12,000 “Starlink” broadband internet satellites. Once built, those will be able to provide fast internet service to every location on the globe.
Of course, a subset of “everywhere” includes rural areas of the United States, and “the FCC has earmarked $16 billion to improve internet service in rural areas over the next 10 years,” reports The Wall Street Journal.
Seeing how its interests align with those of the Federal Communications Commission, SpaceX last month sat down with FCC staff to attempt to convince them that it should be allowed to compete for the federal funds against established cable and internet companies that already sell broadband internet access to rural locations via fiber optic cables on Earth.
Those incumbent providers are opposing the company’s ambition to compete for the funds, arguing that the company’s technology is unproven. But as far back as October 2019, when Starlink still had only a handful of satellites in orbit, Elon Musk was able to broadcast a tweet round the internet:
Sending this tweet through space via Starlink satellite 🛰
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 22, 2019
in a recent statement, SpaceX argued that prohibiting SpaceX “from participating in the auction at the levels that match the true capabilities of its system could have the unintended consequence of denying consumers in rural areas the best possible service and choices.”
FCC is soliciting public comments on the matter, and has not yet decided how it will rule.
- The Year the Internet Thought I Was MacKenzie Bezos – WIRED
- Easy ways to get the fastest internet connection possible in your home – Komando
- Elon Musk says Starlink internet private beta to begin in roughly three months, public beta in six – TechCrunch
- Verizon is canceling home internet installations during the pandemic – The Verge
- Ethiopia’s internet shutdowns are disrupting millions of lives – Quartz Africa
- How to check if your service provider is throttling your internet – CNET
- 8 charts on internet use around the world as countries grapple with COVID-19 – Pew Research Center
- How to boost your home internet speeds while you’re stuck at home: Tech Support – Yahoo Money
- Welcome (Back) to the Appointment Internet – New York Magazine