It seems as though Elon Musk (of SpaceX fame) is pushing for a new way to do satellite-based communications.
Instead of placing a few large satellites in geosynchronous orbit (22,300 miles up), he wants to put up lots — 800 to start, 4225 in the end — of small satellites (about 850 lbs apiece) in lower orbits (about 700-850 miles up).
The goal of this project is to offer gigabit-level bandwidth all over the Earth’s surface. Which is a damn sight better than the current wired services (I usually get somewhere around 54 Mbps on Comcast, using copper wire for the last mile).
Each end user will get a “low-profile user terminal that is easy to mount and operate on walls or roofs.”
Chances are that the “low-profile user terminal that is easy to mount and operate on walls or roofs” will use a standard electrical plug that connects to the outlets found in residential and commercial buildings . . .
And since adapters that allow you to connect those plugs to a car’s cigarette lighter or electronics jack, the “low-profile user terminal that is easy to mount and operate on walls or roofs” can just as easily be mounted on the roof of your RV or SUV. Or your everyday four-door sedan.
Mobile broadband that’s faster than what’s available over the wired services? Sounds like a decent deal to me.
Another aspect of this is that it could put the traditional satellite providers (Direct TV, Dish, HughesNet, etc.) out of business. Why would you bother with them when you can get YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Vudu or Vimeo anywhere in the world? And the cherry on top — you won’t have to pay extra for watching porn.
Now we’re waiting on Musk to get approval for this from the FCC and its international relative, the ITU (can’t have this project giving the Chinese a way around the Great Firewall, can we?) to sign off on it. Which means Musk will have to engage in some legalized bribery lobbying, because the Political Classholes simply can’t approve it without their palms being sufficiently greased in some manner.
FOR FURTHER REFERENCE
- Science Alert – SpaceX wants to surround Earth with an internet service that’s 200 times faster by Dave Mosher
- Ars Technica – SpaceX plans worldwide satellite Internet with low latency, gigabit speed by Jon Brodkin
- Approximate reading level – 10.9
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