So far, over 1,700 satellites have been launched to low-Earth orbit.
Elon Musk’s Starlink: Tech Mogul Elon Musk is expecting to have 5 lakh users for his ambitious satellite internet network Starlink within the next 12 months, he said at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2021. Starlink is a satellite internet network under Musk’s SpaceX which is being routed through low-Earth orbit satellites, and the tech mogul is promising download speeds of 100 Mbps and upload speeds of 20 Mbps during the testing phase. At present, Starlink is in an open beta phase, and it is currently looking to beam broadband internet to most of the places on Earth by August, Musk said.
So far, over 1,700 satellites have been launched to low-Earth orbit and it has recently surpassed the milestone of 69,420 active users, the tech entrepreneur informed. The Starlink service is present in 12 countries at the moment, and it is continuously expanding, he added.
The goal that Musk has enlisted for Starlink at the MWC of beaming internet to the entire Earth except for the Arctic regions seems quite ambitious for the satellite internet service.
The service is being provided directly by Starlink to users who are located in most rural areas in the world, as well as to governments for better military internet connections. The service is being made available to beta users at $99 a month, with a $499 Starlink kit containing a dish and the WiFi router. During the conference, however, Musk said that each Starlink kit is costing the company $1,000. This price has already been brought down from about $3,000, and in the coming year or so, the company is looking to bring the cost further down to about a few hundred dollars.
The goals for Starlink are ambitious and the service Musk aims to provide is challenging and costly. The tech mogul has said that one of the most important goals of SpaceX is to avoid going bankrupt as it is running through a phase of negative cash flows, especially considering the fact that the main competitor of Starlink – OneWeb – filed for bankruptcy last year, though it has now recovered.
As per Musk, Starlink would be complementary to 5G rather than a competitor, and he said that the team of Starlink had signed deals with two major country telecom operators. He is of the view that Starlink is the gap between 5G and fiber, and it gets to the parts that are otherwise hardest to reach.