Thursday, November 23, 2017

Elon Musk gets closer to worldwide internet dream (and all for the same price)

Entrepreneur’s Space X agency files request for $10bn project with the FCC and says internet speeds globally will reach 1Gb/s.

The man who wants to take humans to Mars also wants to connect the whole of planet Earth and bring digital equality across the globe.

Elon Musk’s Space X spacial agency has requested to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authorisation to launch 4,425 satellites which would be used to provide connectivity to the more than 7.2 billion humans on Earth.

In comparison, today there are ‘only’ 1,420 working satellites and an additional 2,600 defunct satellites. Together, working and offline satellites would not be enough to match Musk’s ambitions.

The new service provided by the thousands of satellites has an estimated cost of “at least” $10bn and would start with the launch of 800 satellites which would cover the US, including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

In the filing, Space X said: “The system is designed to provide a wide range of broadband and communications services for residential, commercial, institutional, government and professional users worldwide.”

As for the human population, today only 43% is connected to the internet, with more than 3.5 billion people yet to be brought online.

According to the document filed, the internet speed offered by the new world internet would reach 1 Gb/s, much faster than today’s global average of 5,6 Mb/s.

The world’s fastest internet is currently available in South Korea with an average national speed of up to 28,7 Mb/s, according to US-based CDN and cloud provider Akamai.

“Once fully deployed, the SpaceX System will pass over virtually all parts of the Earth’s surface and therefore, in principle, have the ability to provide ubiquitous global service,” it reads on the filled document.

Each satellite has been designed to nearly match the size of an average car. They would measure four meters by 1.8 and by 1.2 with a total weigh of 386kg. The satellites would orbit Earth at an altitude between 1,150 Km and 1,275 Km.

In the race to connect the planet, Space X is already facing competition from other players such as Boeing Aerospace and OneWeb – a venture backed by Airbus, Virgin, Bharti, and Qualcomm – each one planning to launch 1,000 satellites.

The use of satellites to provide internet connectivity on Earth could prove challenging to broadband providers using fiber and other cabling solutions.