Satellite Internet has existed for over 2 decades, but only now are showing its potentials.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX had recently successfully tested the Starlink system, which is a satellite built to provide satellite Internet. And SpaceX is far from being the only one to have tried similar projects.

Many technology firms in China are also rushing to this field, event regarding satellite Internet as a new infrastructure to call for governmental support.

Illustration of the Starlink satellite in its orbit. Photo: SpaceX.

The concept of satellite Internet had been around since the 1990s, but as potential regions for usage of the service is limited to remote areas, it was extremely challenging to connect internet lines and optical fibers there.

Before, satellite Internet was rather costly and slow. However, with myriad efforts from SpaceX, customers may be able to use the service at a considerably cheaper price.

The largest difference between SpaceX’s Starlink and the previous systems lies in its Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite. While old Internet satellites often orbits at around 35,000 kilometers from Earth, LEO satellite can function at only 300 to 1,900 kilometers from Earth. And this lower distance also means lower latency.

This is also the reason why LEO satellite Internet service was proposed in the beginning of 1990, when Teledesic was founded. This is a company which headquarter is in America, with investments from Bill Gates and Craig McCaw – the telecommunication billionaire. At the start of the 21st century, however, the company faced quite the difficulty after launching its only test satellite, and had to close as early as 2002.

Illustration of the Starlink satellite in its orbit. Photo: SpaceX.

In early 2000s, Motorola had introduced its new mobile line Iridium, which had the ability to catch satellite signal and make calls, at the price of 3,000 USD. However, the line eventually failed and had closed in 1999. Despite the failure, however, Iridium still had provided interesting knowledges for researchers as well as satellite Internet providers, regarding this telecommunication form.

According to a Deloitte report, costs to assemble a satellite launching station at the moment is reasonable in the current global economic conditions.

“Taking a satellite to space by Gbps is 100 times lower than that 15-20 years ago”, said Blaine Curcio, founder of Orbital Gateway Consulting.

The demand for high-speed Internet services had seen quite the rise in the recent days, with millions of people watching videos and playing online games daily. Many fields had also adopted online working, and thus the need for a stable Internet connection is constant. As such, satellite Internet services, should they be reasonably priced, will be in high competition with ground-based Internet services.

Curcio also pointed out that tech giants like Amazon can totally approach this potential field. The US-China trade war can also be an important factor in the rise if satellite Internet.

“In the early 2000s, most of us were still positive with our naive viewpoints. But now, I think a 10-billion-USD Internet network on the sky will be extremely valuable to either the US or China, amid current tensions,” Curcio explained.

Source: Zingnews

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