Starlink is lifting off Internet from space

Starlink dish
Image: Steve Jurvetson, Los Altos, USA – A Bright New Day for Broadband – Starlink, CC BY 2.0

There are many ways to connect to the Internet. A new option that’s rapidly gaining popularity, is getting Internet from space: we’ve written before about how Elon Musk’s Starlink is launching a network of thousands of small satellites into orbit, beaming Internet down to Earth. Now, they’ve reached a milestone as they’ve connected 100.000 paying customers.

A Starlink connection

So, what can you expect from a Starlink Internet connection? At a cost of $99 or €99 a month, you could get connection speeds ranging from 50 to 150 Mbit per second and upwards. Also, you’ll need to invest $/€ 499  in the starter kit, which includes a satellite dish and router.

Target audience

If right now you’re reading this using a much faster, much cheaper connection then good for you, but satellite Internet may not sound like an attractive proposition. However, consider the many remote places on Earth where no cables are laid down and cellphone signals won’t reach, and it starts to make sense!

While the bandwidth offered may not be all that impressive, satellite Internet promises to be fast in another way: low latency. Light travels faster through space than through the underseas optical fibre cables connecting the continents. Sending signals through space could reduce the time it takes data to travel around the world, say from New York to Amsterdam, by maybe 20 or 30 ms. That’s a lot if you’re a high volume stock trader or professional gamer.

Criticism

Bringing Internet to more people sounds like a great idea, but some are accusing Starlink of polluting space. Astronomers complain that the huge amount of small satellites being launched will distort our view of the night sky and also increase the risk of spacecraft crashing into each other, with Starlink satellites already being blamed for half of close encounters.

How do you feel about Internet from space? Let us know in the comments below!

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