SpaceX will receive $ 856 million from the US government for the development of satellite Internet
The US government plans to allocate nearly a billion dollars to SpaceX to develop satellite internet to cover the country’s countryside. Many provincial residents claim that they still experience serious difficulties in accessing the global network..
The company will receive a total of $ 856 million, one of the largest grants provided by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in a new program designed to incentivize companies to expand broadband access to the poorest and most remote areas of the United States over the next 10 years..
SpaceX’s subsidy volume is notable for competing with more established internet providers like Charter Communications and CenturyLink, which rely on traditional fiber optic cables to deliver high-speed internet.. SpaceX’s Starlink service, currently in beta testing and not yet fully operational, relies on an experimental network of nearly 1,000 satellites orbiting the Earth at more than 17,000 miles per hour as the internet is transmitted to high-tech antennas. installed on people’s homes.
In doing so, the FCC awarded most of the $ 9 billion in subsidies to more traditional suppliers.. Charter, for example, raised about $ 1.2 billion to bring high-speed internet to more than 1 million areas.. A consortium of rural technical cooperatives (joint application of small regional companies) received $ 1.1 billion.
SpaceX’s permission to participate in the subsidy program sparks controversy. Traditional telecom companies and some broadband proponents communications claimed SpaceX’s Starlink network was too young to prove its worth. Basically, the FCC just took Starlink SpaceX’s word for it. However, if promises are not fulfilled, it could cause long delays in getting internet coverage in some of the most needy areas of the United States..
If the project does indeed work as intended, it could be of great benefit to the American and global rural economies.. The company’s unique satellite system is designed to cover the entire planet, rather than connecting rural areas with wires.
The Federal Communications Commission estimates that 21 million Americans (roughly one in fifteen) still do not have access to high-speed Internet.. The actual number could be much higher, maybe even doubled more FCC assessment, according to the BroadbandNow study. A 2018 Pew Research survey found that fast access to the global web is a problem in almost for 60% of the rural population.
Problems caused by digital divide is more evident than ever in the era of Covid-19. Some families were forced to sit on school parking lots to work remotely, look for work or attend online classes.
The problem with traditional high-speed internet is that pulling underground cables to areas where there are not many customers is costly, time consuming and does not make financial sense for operators who are focused on short-term profits rather than long-term investments.. This is why the FCC and a small number of other government programs subsidize part of the expenses in the segment.
Meanwhile, traditional satellite internet services have a reputation for being slow and outdated..
In fact, the FCC initially said satellite projects would not be able to receive any subsidies.. However, the commission changed its mind in June after SpaceX indignant at her decision not to consider satellite technology.
SpaceX promises its network will be as fast as the best fiber optic services. Its satellites fly much closer to Earth than most other telecommunications satellites, which the company says will eliminate the delay..
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It is unclear at this point how well the network will function.. Beta testers reported about the highest speeds, but occasionally experience crashes. This is because the company has not yet launched enough satellites to guarantee uninterrupted coverage.. In addition, it has not yet been announced how expensive the service will be for the consumer.. CNBC reported in October that service can cost about $ 99 per month, plus a one-time fee of about $ 500 for router and antenna.
Ernesto Falcon, senior attorney at the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit advocacy organization, argues that if Americans want stable high-speed service and ultimately develop 5G networks, then fiber optic cables are the only right solution. This is why he says public funds should not have been used for alternative technologies..
Other experts including the FCC Commissioner Mike O&# 39; Reilly, who lobbied for the idea of allowing SpaceX to join the FCC subsidy program, claim Starlink can offer a one-stop solution to a pressing problem.
«The reality is we don’t have enough money to connect every American home to fiber», – he told CNN.
According to him, this fact is sufficient reason to take the risk of betting on the SpaceX project, a company already known for its technological success..
ABOUT&# 39; Reilly believes that if Starlink is available in terms of value for money – this can be a huge success for the whole of America, and later the world, providing access to the Internet for every inhabitant of the planet.