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.


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!

Falcon 9 rocket
Image: NASA HQ photo

Elon Musk! Okay, that should have gotten your attention… SpaceX, one of his many ventures, has been busy developing technology for launching Falcon rockets into space, working with reusable components.  The ultimate goal: a human settlement on Mars. As part of that grand mission, they are now working on a new approach to connect you to the Internet: Starlink, a network of satellites in orbit over our planet that would provide you with broadband access to the Internet and would pass data along.

With the first prototype satellites set to launch, it’s still hard to see what the exact impact will be. The plan may eventually involve launching as much as 12.000 cheap, mass-produced satellites into space. To connect to them from earth, you would need to install some sort of receiver, pointed to the skies.

Given how all of that’s a considerable effort, what are the benefits? As you’re reading this article, using your rapid 4G, cable internet, or even fiber optics connection, you might be tempted to take a fast connection to the Internet for granted. However, there are large parts of the world that are much less densely populated and where it’s just not economical or even possible to install all the cables, network equipment, and cell towers required to bring another remote village online. Other companies have been working on solutions for this issue as well. Google for example, has been providing Internet using balloons. Using satellites may be an interesting alternative – one that could eventually even reach Mars.

Update: just to show that the idea of Internet from the skies isn’t just hot air, another startup is planning to provide connectivity using high-tech blimps.