Access to the internet has more or less become immensely important for everyone in this era. And the current situation of Covid-19 has created an even greater impact.
But is internet provided at every corner of the world?
The answer to this question is a big “NO”.
Now here comes the need of Starlink and Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX has identified this great opportunity and had received the first-mover advantage as after the launching of Starlink his net worth had crossed $100 billion. Everyone’s enquiring:
Is Starlink good enough?
What is Starlink?
Starlink is a satellite internet provider being constructed by SpaceX. This will consist of thousands of mass-produced small satellites in low Earth orbit which will combinably work with the ground transceivers.
It has launched 895 satellites to space till today and further plans to launch around 10,000 satellites in total. It is revolutionary change for the people living in the remote areas as Starlink plans to provide satellite internet to each and every corner of the world.
Currently, it provides services across the Northern USA and Canada and is planning to expand to near global coverage of the populated world in 2021.
It aims to provide high-speed internet access across the globe at around 50-150 Mbps. Most importantly, it intends to provide satellite internet connectivity to all the underserved areas of the planet.
As of now people who have received the set of Starlink for themselves are quite satisfied with the services and on the other hand Starlink has crossed their expectation as it is working at around 161mbps.
40% of the world population has no or unstable internet connectivity, that’s about 12 times the number of people living in the US. So providing the internet will change the digital culture and hence new business opportunities will arise.
Everyone’s so surprised and are enquiring if rural Montana could become the next Silicon Valley?
Elon musk has also developed long term plans to deploy a version of satellite communication system to serve Mars.
When is Starlink coming to India?
As far as now there is no official confirmation about when is Elon Musk entering India. But there was one such incident that took place on Twitter.
So, According to this statement everyone could expect Starlink to enter the Indian markets by the mid 2021 or as soon as they get the regulatory approval.
Reasons for entering the Indian Markets
There is never a specific reason given behind to why does Elon Musk want to enter India.
But yes as we see that India is a highly populated country, so an investment in India would provide a great return. This will help Elon Musk to get a better view of the people of India.
As mentioned Starlink intends to provide satellite internet to all the remote places and parts of India like Jammu and Kashmir, parts of Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh have not been blessed with internet connectivity so far. Starlink will pave the way for these places too with the satellite connectivity coming into force.
Setting up in India will also help Starlink to expand its business and hence become more profitable.
And then if expanding becomes successful they can then look forward to mars satellite communications system.
Pros and Cons of Starlink with respect to India.
Pros of Starlink:
It provides faster internet connectivity and comparing this to conventional internet satellites will be absurd.
Though as of now Starlink is limited to areas but with due passage of time it will be available at every corner of the world be it South most or the north most corner.
It recovers much faster than the other satellite internet after a disaster. Generally it takes weeks and even months to get back proper connectivity but with Starlink once the sky clears up, Starlink internet is received.
It is much more reliable than the other satellites as it is also readily available at higher altitudes.
Cons of Starlink:-
At any point of time Starlink has a fixed amount of satellites over a specific location. So the places with higher population density will face slower internet facility.
Hardware installation may be another issue for many users. Starlink does not have hardware installation service. Moreover, it is not possible for a renter to set up this service in case the landlord does not allow the installation of the device.
Starlink is not portable unlike the cellular data.
Another main disadvantage of Starlink is that there is a service disruption during lousy weather.
As of now there is no information regarding the pricing policy in India but in US, the price of the equipment and monthly charges are comparatively much higher that is $499 and $99 respectively.
Elon Musk using the first mover advantage may have earned lots of revenue in initial period using Starlink but is it that no other company will step to compete against SpaceX?
Already from nowhere Bharti group have stepped up and now have joined hands with the British Government to acquire OneWeb. It now expects to launch satellite internet in India by early 2022. It has also sought help from India’s space agency to build affordable access terminals across India.
This deal has also mentioned that they would be making some changes according to the company’s space related policy so that business becomes lucrative.
Bharti Group expects to do its first trial in Europe by next year (2021).
So, we can confirm that Bharti Group has ensured that SpaceX does not enjoy Monopoly in the satellite internet market.
But they may come across another competitor who may be interested in setting up these satellite internet communications. And this is none other than India’s richest man Mr. Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani.
It is probably obvious that the chairman of Reliance Industries Limited won’t be quiet. If Mukesh Ambani enters the market it is possible that ISRO receives a contract for the making of satellites as ISRO is the best source for making satellites in the country. This will enable ISRO to receive multi-billion dollars contract.
A major concern
As planned, SpaceX will launch more than 10,000 satellites. This has increased the concerns for the space debris in the space and astronomers have been worried that with so many luminous satellites, the odds of one passing through the telescope will increase and as a result the image will be obstructed and so the astronomers have reasons to be concerned.
When enquired about the space debris Elon Musk stated that they have very small size of satellites and are very close to the Earth’s surface (Around 550km) so fortunately that would not be a concern.
But could anyone be sure about it? Its obvious answer is “No”
Every technology does have pros and cons. But if the advantages of it outperform the disadvantages then we should not be shunning it. Starlink comparatively has more advantages so we must embrace it.