How will Elon Musk's SpaceX Starlink Change the Internet and the World?

How will Elon Musk's SpaceX Starlink Change the Internet and the World?

SpaceX Starlink Change the Internet and the World
pic credit: Google Images


Slow Internet? Can’t watch a youtube video? Don’t worry...  SpaceX has got your back! Yes, the same company which made the most powerful reusable rockets - is developing a technology, right now - to ensure a faster internet connection even in the middle of the ocean. But how will they achieve this goal? And what are the implications of this technology? 

How will SpaceX Starlinkchange the Internet and the World?

The year is 2021 but still, nearly 40% of the world does not have access to a stable internet connection. That’s about 12 times the number of people in the entire United States of America who don’t connect to the internet. 

For a large number of them, the reason is that they don’t have access to the infrastructure necessary to get online. But that’s about to change with Elon Musk’scompany SpaceX and their Starlink project. SpaceX is currently one of the most innovative companies of all time. 

And their plans for Starlink are very ambitious- both from the company as well as the consumers’ standpoint. The plan is to send around 42,000 satellites into the earth’s orbit by the end of 2027. Right now, there are more than 800 Starlinksatellites in the orbit, and beta testing of Starlink internet named “Better Than Nothing” is going on with a one-time equipment cost of 499 dollars and the subscription cost of 99dollars per month with the expected speeds ranging from 50 to 150 Megabits per second. 

SpaceX has claimed speeds of up to 1 Gigabits per second and latency to be less than 35 milliseconds. While it might seem quite over-promised, remember that Starlink is yet to send most of its satellites to orbit and every satellite launch will certainly improve the speeds over the last one. 

Even though Elon Musk’s SpaceX says its expanded “Better Than Nothing” test is still a beta version of Starlink’s eventual capabilities, at least one early Starlink internet service customer says he is getting better than expected speed. Starlink customer “FourthEchelon19” is getting 161 megabits/second download and 23 megabits/second upload speed. 

That’s good enough to stream 4K YouTubevideos with zero buffering. And it’s making people with hard-wired high-speeds a little bit jealous. In fact, according to the speed test by Ookla, that’s faster than 95% of the United States ... and Starlink costs just $99/month. 

That’s a little hard to fathom given that Starlink is bouncing signals to orbit before returning them down to earth. While Starlink satellites are in low-earth orbit, that’s still 342 miles or 550 kilometers above the planet’s surface. Starlink also promises 20-40 milliseconds of latency, and this early beta test confirms it with a latency of 34 milliseconds. 

The tester is also getting tiny but frequent interruptions, which might be due to line-of-site challenges, but don’t seem to be impacting the perceived quality of service. Starlink has said that there will be periods where satellites are unavailable this early in the construction of the overall constellation, but they should be brief. 

If speeds remain anywhere near where this test shows, that speed is good enough to run your business or work from literally anywhere in the world. High-speed internet is a must for most tech jobs if you’re working remotely, and most rural locations in the U.S. and Canada have extremely limited speeds. 

As an example, Restream.io says that to stream video with good quality, you need about 6 megabits per second. Starlink is showing almost six times that speed. Plus, of course, much faster upload. Starlink is an ambitious project that aims to put nearly 2,000 small satellites into orbit by the end of 2021 to provide a globalized network of internet access. 

The ultimate goal is to get affordable internet in every part of the world. As Starlink provides access and the remaining40% of the global population comes online, the fundamental cultural makeup of the internet will change. If you think about it in terms of the technology adoption lifecycle, change is inevitable. 

A massive influx of new users joining the globalized digital network will redefine the meaning of digital life. Assuming Elon Musk succeeds, the world will be significantly impacted by adding nearly half the world’s population to the web. As the entire world gains access to the internet, we will see a wave of cultural change and pre-existing digital communities as well as the formation of new digital ecosystems. 

The economic engine that is the internet will provide new forms of prosperity to billions of people and fundamentally alter the traditional power dynamics of the world. The world currently has a population of nearly7.8 billion people. A little under half of them do not have regular internet access. 

Those without access are disproportionately low income and non-English speaking regions of the world. Despite this lack of access, the data indicate that although there is limited access in these regions, there does exist an appetite for connectivity. 

This is showcased by a significant surge in mobile broadband use over the last few years. New Business Opportunities Will AriseAs the internet becomes available to the second half of the world, there is no doubt that massive business opportunities will proliferate. 

What services will these new users need and seek out? 

In low access regions, there is a clear deficit in IT skills. We can expect to see growth in easy to access programs for upskilling individuals as they gain internet access such as Globalized versions of Khan Academy, Coursera, EDX, even Youtube. 

These programs will be mobile friendly and focus on core business skills such as communications, file transfers, and other basic competencies. There will also be an opportunity to provide training in mobile-oriented financial security, privacy tools, proper online banking habits, understanding the threat of phishing schemes, and lessons on the importance of strong passwords. 

The connection of global populations will also present interesting labor arbitrage opportunities. As more low-income regions gain access and become skilled in information technology, they alter the global labor wage dynamic. 

Businesses in developed countries will gain access to more affordable digital labor while at the same time, developed world workers may experience wage disruption - possibly even employment displacement. 

This is a boon for business expenditures and a potential pitfall for the labor economy as a global wage equilibrium is found. 

Will your job be at risk due to this new population of trained internet users? 

Perhaps most importantly, there is an opportunity to educate newly online people on how to become Sovereign Individuals, that is, teaching these people how to become financially independent by learning to exploit the full value of the internet. 

The internet has created so much wealth and prosperity and represents a powerful opportunity for new adopters to build a more resilient life. The bottom line is that whether you already have access to the internet or not, the Starlink program will fundamentally change the makeup of the internet and the world once it comes online. It’s important to keep track of this development as it will assuredly impact everyone on the planet in some way. 

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