In Depth’Race to the Stars’ (2/4). Starlink’s promise of fast internet access everywhere on the planet poses a threat to telecom operators. Though they stay quiet, their radars have spotted the rockets, and some shots have already been fired.
Is Elon Musk threatening to bring the sky down on the heads of telecom operators? By promising Internet access everywhere on the planet thanks to his Starlink satellite constellation, the US entrepreneur is turning their world upside down. Going online by pointing a dish at a satellite is not a revolutionary idea: the first mass-market satellite internet connections date back to 2008. But their speed could not compete with wired (ADSL and fiber) or cellular (4G and 5G) connections.
In contrast, Starlink’s satellites, positioned in low Earth orbit (at an altitude of 550 kilometers) and no longer in geostationary position (36,000 kilometers), are reversing the balance of power: their theoretical data transmission rate compares favorably with a very good 4G network. Most importantly, the speed of data communication between Earth and space (latency) is 50 times faster than that of conventional satellites and supports applications such as video calls or network games.Continue reading… “Elon Musk’s Starlink constellation may well destabilize the world of telecom”