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Would a hand-held size device be able to connect to these satellites? I'm imagining a mass-manufactured device like a Peek[0] that could be distributed in countries with heavy censorship...


The receivers/Earth stations will be phased array antennas; basically an antenna 'grid'. They won't fit in your pocket, but they will fit on top of your car.

Keep in mind, this system is designed to give the Internet to everyone. The antennas will be small enough to conceal. Since the signals go up instead of across a border, censorship is not an issue.

> Since the signals go up instead of across a border, censorship is not an issue.

That's very short-sighted. The connection terminates somewhere, so the whole path is either (you)-(satellite)-(local ground station)-(ISP in your country) or (you)-(satellite)-(another satellite)-(remote ground station)-(ISP in another country)

Censorship then can happen at:

- the satellite (unlikely, they probably just want to forward packets with minimal power/time use)

- ground stations (great firewall of china style)

- ISP (standard, existing filtering)

- any nation that wants to just shut down the access rather than censor it (wide band, high power noise, send straight to the satellites to kill all communication)

Also, the use of the equipment should be pretty easy to detect if you can afford a few plane trips (maybe even just vans), so nations that don't like the idea can just knock on your door and have a chat about it with you.

You need to get landing rights in all countries you plan to operate your frequency bands in. They cannot simply start transmitting down to any country without previous authorization.

Unless that particular country possesses anti-satellite weaponry, I think you absolutely can. Iran hasn't had much success censoring satellite communications on their soil.




You can't for the most part. Satellites cannot control the signal to the point where it exactly shapes to a country, so if you're able to register it in an adjacent country there's no way to know. Especially with broadcast TV where it's one way. It's illegal to do that, but that's another issue. It's also the reason why you don't see third parties giving access into China.

There are a great many countries where you can get thrown in prison for possession an "unlicensed" Iridium phone, though. Or any other form of two way satellite communications tech. It needs to be cheap enough and ubiquitous enough that hundreds of thousands or millions of people are using it, so that authorities in even a draconian state cannot effectively police or ban it.

Rubber hose cryptography principles.

yeah sure, you can shit on a country's regulations, the response ranges from harmless to starting an open war, with a a few steps like seeking the company's funders extradition, seeking redress in international arbitrage, blocus etc.

And the US allows its companies to ignore most of the possible responses.

I imagine Musk could get even more than the already generous US government protection if he puts the base stations on US soil (I.e. all traffic in NSA reach)

Jamming of satellite signals in the middle east has gotten pretty bad. You have to lease spectrum and the country from which you are leasing it has control of that spectrum.

Furthermore, nation-state censorship only has to make reaching censored services more difficult for the average person. They specifically throttle home internet connections but leave businesses alone.

>They won't fit in your pocket, but they will fit on top of your car.

I think I can glimpse what Musk long-term vision is for "connected cars..."

Satellite is pretty much perfect. One provider works globally (vs dozens of mobile proviers), coverage is near 100% everywhere, and mass broadcast signals (like firmware updates and SDC neural connectomes) can be cached locally on the satellite, conserving uplink bandwidth.

The last time this system was discussed they mentioned needing a pizza-sized dish.

I will be really surprised if, due to the laws of physics and the gain required to achieve reasonably dense modulation/code rates, the antenna is smaller than 18 inches... Maybe like the size of an extra-large pizza box, phased array aimed upwards.

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