The Internet will soon get a boost, and Elon Musk is at the forefront of this race. SpaceX’s satellite Internet unit, Starlink, has indicated that it will provide 24-hour worldwide coverage by September 2021, subject to regulatory approvals. Starlink’s president Gwynne Shotwel confirmed this impending development on Tuesday. Speaking via webcast at a technology conference held by Macquarie Group, Shotwel said that Starlink had deployed around 1,800 satellites. Once they attain their operational orbits, continuous global coverage would be possible by September.
However, they needed to get the desired regulatory approvals from different countries to provide telecom services, Shotwel added. Currently, 11 countries are beneficiaries of the beta service offered by Starlink, which at the cost of $10 billion, plans to deploy 12,000 satellites. Pre-orders by 500,000 customers were received in May for the low-Earth orbiting network, and they did not foresee any technical glitches to meet this demand, said Musk.
The only limitation was high-density usage in urban areas. The $99 advance taken from customers was fully refundable although they did not provide guaranty service, Musk tweeted. The rocket manufacturing and satellite launching industry is highly capital intensive, and along with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Musk has invested several billions of dollars in this venture. To provide fast broadband service to people worldwide who lacked this service, the US Federal Communications Commission (USFCC) gave the go-ahead to SpaceX to position Starlink satellites in low-earth orbit, although with many riders.
Musk acknowledged that SpaceX might face many interferences from satellites deployed by Amazon’s Kuiper Systems satellite project. In addition to Starlink, other manufacturers of small satellites include Blue Canyon Technologies, Amazon.com’s Kuiper, Planet, and OneWeb. Meanwhile, NASA awarded a $2.9 billion contract to SpaceX to build a spacecraft that will land astronauts on the moon by 2024.