Elon Musk’s Starlink is a proposed system of satellites that would create a 3D internet, and it’s aiming to launch by 2020. Elon Musk has been traveling the country these last few years, soliciting private investors for money to get the project up and running. The website estimates that at least five people have a net worth of over $50 billion or make over $150 million per year.
This system would provide bandwidth for all comers worldwide, eliminating the expensive infrastructure needed in today’s internet. Furthermore, it aims to be affordable enough so that everyone can access it without going broke.
The question remains – who will use up all of this bandwidth? It is estimated that even a moderate usage may cost as much as a Netflix or Spotify subscription. This doesn’t seem very practical for the average consumer.
Elon Musk’s own company, Tesla, is about to deliver its first mass-market vehicle – the Model 3 sedan intended to be affordable for many households. However, according to Wired Magazine, it would cost $2,000 to make the battery large enough to supply 300 miles of travel on each charge at highway speeds. This, coupled with the cost of Tesla’s growing fleet of cars, may just be the same as if people choose Starlink instead.
And what about home internet usage? The average American household only devotes 9GB to non-free streaming services per month. Does this sound like it will be enough for an entire family to have 300GB at their disposal every month? Even if they did, overages could efficiently run each family hundreds of dollars per month.
Some believe that individuals with extraordinary amounts of wealth will be the only ones who can afford to use Starlink. Companies or corporations could subscribe and offer it as a perk to their customers in return for more business—something like the Four Seasons Hotel offering free access to anything on Netflix.
It is too early to tell what will happen, especially since this project has yet to launch. The only thing that seems clear is that Starlink will probably fall under government regulation, which will make it more expensive for the average consumer.
How Starlink Works
The project will involve launching nearly 12,000 satellites into low-Earth orbit. This massive network will provide much faster data connections for everyone, but it’s also meant to compete with other wireless providers for internet use. In addition, the goal is to make it cheaper and easier to obtain online services in rural or remote areas, which are difficult to access via traditional methods.
The downside is discovering what this means for the average consumer. Right now, it seems that Starlink is aimed primarily at those who already have a good deal of wealth. The more you make, the more you will pay through this massive bandwidth provider. Though this may sound like a bonus to many business owners – who would benefit from a more accessible internet – it may not be what the average American wants.
It appears that Elon Musk has an optimistic view of how Starlink will turn out as people seem enthralled by his dreams of becoming space-bound pioneers. As it turns out, some people believe that Starlink will be just as significant as SpaceX itself – but with less room for failure.
It will be interesting to see how this venture turns out in the years to come. Many believe that it could change the world, but it may not be able to deliver on its promises without some changes.