As a homeowner, you by a small box which lives under the eave of your roof. The box has high-bandwidth, low-latency satellite uplink to SpaceX which gives you your internet.
The same box also has a terrestrial wireless repeater which serves the local neighborhood. Internet is available through your "tower" to neighbors and passers-by. You and SpaceX split the revenue from the traffic.
Basically, it's like a solar roof, but for internet. Photons/bits rain down from space onto your roof, and you sell the energy/bandwidth back to the local area for a price that amortizes your investment.
In areas very poorly served by internet, or with very poor broadband choices, there could be an especially strong financial incentive to be the guy on your block with a SpaceX repeater.
It would certainly scale a lot better than every house having an uplink-- customer connections are instead concentrated into micro-regional nodes. If there's a node in your area, you buy internet from them. If there's no node around, you invest in becoming one.
This could drastically decentralize and cheapen internet across the globe, if done right. It could be extremely disruptive to telecoms, and profitable for SpaceX.
one of the challenges with a wisp micro POP approach for current last mile FCC part 15 unlicensed band operators is that you need to (a) keep the equipment powered independently of whatever the POP-host customer might be messing around with inside of their house, and (b) provide a good sized UPS for it, and (c) ensure that the POP stays in place and contractually "survives" the original resident moving out, either new tenants or new homeowner. The (c) part requires a fairly long and ironclad commercial lease agreement that becomes attached to the property title, which is not something either ISPs or homeowners take lightly.
Oh, and it’s a SpaceX/Tesla synergy, so Musk fans will be delighted ;)
Thet is why my Fios Service has a Battery Backup for the voice circuits (even though I do not have them active)
Definitely for rural and less densely populated areas you could potentially get hundreds of Mbps per subscriber, but even for the crazy high number of satellites they're talking about in their constellation, at this point you're probably only going to get tens of megabits per subscriber in a densely populated city with any decent take-up rate...
I've long opined network routers should have an "ad-hoc" mode (preferably on by default) whereby users can create a decentralized network, leveraging whatever long-range/high-bandwidth connection that can be accessed. With enough market penetration, the need for a direct service provider drops (from per-endpoint to per-region or even per-backbone; poor description of intent noted).
It would be nice to see other providers do this, but a lot of tech users have reservations about other people using their routers.
If they're successful, you could potentially see a high bandwidth SpaceX link on the roof of every major data center on the planet. They could be self-reliant for connections to every major online service.
If they're very successful, you could potentially see data providers like Netflix and CloudFlare joining SpaceX in orbit, most likely embedded into a future SpaceX satellite...
Price to orbit is thousands of dollars per kilo. Maintainability is zilch. And you have lots of cosmic rays flinging charged particles into your sensitive memory banks, flipping random bits. Also, heat management is very difficult.
I couldn't think of a worse place to put a datacenter than space. The bottom of the ocean would make more sense.
SpaceX's plan is almost absurdly ambitious and there is a lot of skepticism in the comm satellite community that they will achieve their stated goals, especially at an affordable price point.
They don’t necessarily have to be affordable. You can be premium. They just have to be able to provide high speed internet and not be Comcast.
They might even make it realistic for more people to live out in rural areas where there either is no internet or what’s available is inhibitingly slow. That would be an interesting niche. People who choose to live out further than where telecomm companies will support have money to spend too. There’s pent up demand.
Not that I have any experience in that industry, but didn't the commercial rocket launch have the same set of opinions?
This might disrupt cellular and satellite ISPs and it will affect wired ISPs in the same sense that cellular affects them now which is all pretty exciting, but I don't think it will do anything beyond that.
TL;DR: insanely great for sensor networks, exciting for mobile internet (especially at sea), not quite irrelevant for home internet unless you live in the middle of nowhere like my parents.
Even a highly disruptive network that drops the cost by two orders of magnitude will still be expensive.
This will make the 'Internet' truly global and ubiquitous.
So excited for the developing world.
These developing countries are going all-in on mobile and it’s a good thing. They really don’t need these sattelites, but for Americans apparently it’s good for leveling the ISP playing field.
Sri Lanka coverage: http://www.airtel.lk/coverage-map.html
Bamako (capital of Mali) coverage: https://www.orange.com/en/Group/Orange-in-the-world/countrie...
The uncovered area of Mali is probably 5-8 times the size of Sri Lanka.
Sorry, needed to get that out. I'm a little frustrated here, because I have been in several poor countries (Africa, Thailand, Moldowa) and they've all had a way better internet coverage than Germany.
LTE is everywhere and in my home town I get 20Mbs/5Mbs rates over Vodafone. There is only one place, literally in the middle of a dense forest ( part of a Wandertour ) where there is no signal at all. The highways are well covered, I normally skype and other VoIP apps work flawless.
So while we are talking about Germany, let's not forget this is a federal state and each state can individually influence the development. Not sure if USA is the same.
I lived in Germany for about 5 years. Half of that the last 300m of connection to my house were over the thinnest legally allowable copper wire. 3.2mbps max speed down on a very very good day (usually sub 2mbps), about a tenth or slightly more up.
My in-laws previous house was semi-detached and the neighbours house have fiber, but theirs didn't. Same actual building but KabelDeutschland wouldn't run an extension just 2 meters to the wall on my in-laws actual house.
And I mean 'won't' not "couldn't". They scoped the cost and agreed to pay for it to be done, even at the overinflated price, and KD actually said they didn't want to do it.
I was under the impression that "third world" was supposed to be defined as "a country that was not on the axis or allied side during all of World War 2." Your use of the term directly contradicts this definition.
Also it was the Cold War, not WWII. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_World
>The term "Third World" arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned with either NATO or the Communist Bloc.
People often use when they want to say "backwards" countries.
The correct term is developing world, which just means rapidly improving and doesn't cloudy the convo with connotations about the cold war.
The primary definition is now "underdeveloped countries" - because language changes over time.
Edit: Please note that the data packets make a two way trip from the satellite. Many network communications assume a lot of two way communication from client and server, so this decrease in distance should have a big impact.
So it possibly won't be a killer for video conferencing, but keep in mind that the USAF's current system for drone video has 2 seconds of one-way lag. There's three orders of magnitude between what we're currently doing and the physical limit.
SpaceX's system will undoubtedly be better than what is in use today, but even with two orders of magnitude improvement (a HUGE improvement) you're looking at adding 20 ms of lag on top of what you'd already have.
LEO is a range between 300km - 2000km. I suspect the satellites will be on the higher range to reduce atmospheric drag. The IIS has a 400km (250 miles) orbit and it's orbit decays at 2km/month without correction maneuvers.
What the RVers are too cheap to do is pay for the product they want. Go to unlimitedville.com, pay $200 a month, and you have unlimited LTE in every city you travel to. If you want the best mobile internet you have to pay for it.
Unlimited mobile data went away or got expensive in most places right around the time that smartphones gained the ability to act as wifi access points.
Also, for completeness, it's probably worth mentioning the conditions of your unlimited data roaming were bandwidth limits, and a maximum trip duration of thirty days. Though I know people who considerably exceeded that duration in Europe and weren't noticeably restricted or penalised. Of course it's moot now (yay!- I write this message from Madrid airport..).
> Data abusers are those who purposefully push limits or conduct known illegal activity like torrenting etc. If you consistently burn through a half terabyte or more a month (that’s over 500 GBs!), that is not normal internet usage and you could be asked to split your usage between two accounts or the service could be terminated by certain carriers.
Why would you pay this much just to get what's basically a high FUP plan?
But then why not just sell 500 GB packages? So everyone knows what they will get.
My Cox internet also had a 500 GB warning.
Plus, Netflix HD streaming is about 3GB per hour. You can stream a two hour movie every night and only use 180 GB per month. I've never gotten to 500 GB, so it's effectively unlimited.
It doesn't take abusive behavior to hit a limit like that on a home connection. If you took a 2007-era 250GB cap, and kept it price-constant, you'd be looking at something like 20TB caps these days.
I know exactly the meaning that you intend here, but at first I thought "how exactly is this going to be beneficial for polyamorous triads of hemp farmers who attend burning man every year?"
Every single country has 3G, a few have 4G. Often the speeds were faster than what I get in Canada.
A pre-paid SIM costs $1, data is anything from $1-$10/GB in a pre-paid bundle. So I think the biggest difference the SpaceX Constellation can make is price.
A huge percentage of the population in virtually every dirt street town has a smartphone with facebook and whatsapp.
That's a lot of capacity. Now a big part of the problem is outdated regulatory regimes and government-controlled telecoms that are keeping prices artificially high, and keeping out competition in the 4G/LTE market and ISP market.
Decentralized alternatives, like Freifunk, are the best option in my opinion.
So a better comparison as others have said is comcast and mobile broadband providers. The more competition the better as far as I'm concerned.
ubiquitous internet will make remote weather stations, drones and a multitude of other things far more cost effective or possible. (especially here in Alaska)
The goal for these is to build network bridges to alaskan terrestrial fiber, getting to Fairbanks and/or Anchorage, from where connections are possible into Alaska's subsea fiber cables to WA state and the Seattle area.
Implemented properly this can be significantly faster than satellite, bringing a 1 to 2 Gbps full duplex connection to each town with licensed microwave bands. From the perspective of ACS and GCI and similar operators, it can pay for itself pretty quickly because they can stop paying monthly-recurring geostationary satellite transponder kHz leases.
It's less expensive than launching satellites, and the Chinese goverment has enough money to do it if they want.
I doubt it, since a single Falcon Heavy launch would carry dozens of Starlink satellites but the existing anti-satellite technology can only hit one at a time. Keep in mind they have said the final constellation will be 12,000 satellites!
edit: and BFR could theoretically carry 300 when it is operational. https://space.stackexchange.com/questions/25525/how-many-spa...
Moving something to the same altitude as Leo requires much less energy than moving something to Leo. Rockets don't fire straight up because the need their momentum to be at an angle. In addition, the payload of a communication satellite is more expensive than the payload required to throw it either disable the satellite or put it into a declining orbit.
Maybe Elon's rockets are just so cheap he can make it up in margin, but we are really talking about we aren't talking about marginal amount of difficulty difference, but an entire order of magnitude.
I'm not sure how efficient China's military industrial complex is, but I wouldn't trust the US's military to be able to build a weapon system that could destroy SpaceX satellite's more efficiently than SpaceX can launch them, haha.
Are you sure? If China knocks out one of ours, we’ll knock out at least one of theirs. We’ll also likely implement a suite of sanctions. Shooting down a satellite is an act of war.
Wars kill lots of people. You knew that, right?
No, we won’t. We’ll impose several decades of meaningless tariffs and embargoes with tons of loopholes so it looks like we’re doing something until everyone forgets what everyone was mad about in the first place.
Do you have more info on this? Or anyone?
That's so crass. It's plain indefensible. I really want to know more.
edit: Thanks for the links.
I’m sure lots of North Americans wouldn’t want Chinese satellites overhead for concern of privacy.
I mean, generating tons of space junk is not cool. But what else are you going to do if others are lurking on your airspace?
It is going to be shift is policy though. We are going to need to update space law.
Umm, there are of course Chinese satellites overhead and they have excellent imagery of all of our military bases. As we do for theirs (and every other country!). Orbits aren't very friendly to avoiding airspace.
If there is a willingness to do it once, it tests the barrier of what's acceptable.
It's bad for everyone—present, and future.
no nation-state wants to start the game of shooting down another's satellite, either military or commercial, because everything up there is so vulnerable. it would open china to retaliatory strikes taking down their own polar orbit LEO, inclined LEO (35-45 degree) molnia, MEO and GEO satellites. satellites are fragile things and can be killed with one 200g chunk of tungsten at a closing velocity of 18,000 km/h.
Your defining 'space' as airspace is odd also
These are not government satellites and china owns the airwaves over their nation. I highly doubt the US government would retaliate whatsoever against China if they shot down a satellite that illegally interacted with their airspace.
> China wouldn’t risk it. This is a great opportunity to break the great firewall and finally give the Chinese people access to unfiltered information.
Take this with a grain of salt since this is mostly based on what I have heard hearsay, but they can jam the signals and/or monitor who transmits back and go after the citizens using said signal (and china is not a country where you want to poke the government). I doubt this will have any effect on the great firewall.
Bring in a few from where? Where do you think these devices will be manufactured anyway? ;)
Also, even if they were manufactured in the US, China is literally the best country to reverse-engineer electronics and produce knockoffs ;).
That said, AFAIK those satellites aren't meant to be dumb routers/repeaters - so China might just politically/economically pressure US to tell SpaceX to pretty-please don't service connections to/from China.
However, I suspect SpaceX will however allow China to monitor/limit connections. Further, China has a lot more power to crack down on purely internal operations would deter many.
a) the rooftop CPE needs to be reasonably large and have high gain to be used effectively, and needs clear unobstructed line of sight to as much of the sky and horizon as possible.
b) It needs to transmit, it will transmit in very known frequency ranges, and the chinese authorities have plenty of budget to buy portable spectrum analyzers, horn antennas and to reach people how to use them. It only takes a couple of hours maximum to reach somebody how to use a portable spectrum analyzer to physically locate and identify transmitters in almost any band.
B) These things need to transmit up, so you can reasonably block most signals in other directions. Aircraft would work, but again not cheap.
The real issue is more on the human side and network monitoring. Lots of encrypted network traffic to a ransom location would be suspect.
PS: For once tinfoil might actually be useful vs government spying :)
B) not just up but to the sides and toward the horizon as well. This will be a non moving phased array antenna that can talk to two LEO satellites moving across the sky at the same time. I predict that any reasonable amount of blockage to the sides will not be a good idea for their network architecture.
C) all Tx have some sort of sidelobes and nothing has a perfect f/b ratio. Will still be detectable by spectrum analyzers from the side.
B) Depends on how many satellites are in the constellation. Ideally you want a lot of them as there is vastly more atmosphere the lower your angle to the horizon.
C) detectable at say 50 feet sure, but a signal you can detect from 10+ miles in a van doing 60mph without a lot of false positives is another story.
With the resources of China, spending $15,000 per spectrum analyzer kit x 8 kits, plus training, is a tiny drop in the bucket compared to the amount of money and effort they are currently spending on IP cameras that feed into facial recognition systems, etc.
However, if you want to catch individual usage in urban areas, with guys on for that's going to easily be into the 10's of of billions as users don't need to keep them on 24/7. AKA within the capability of nation states, but not without significant effort.
s/Aircraft/Drone/. Now it's cheap.
Really, the audience for this are ships and other remote regions, not anyplace that has a road going to it.
It will be much slower than LTE, since the satellites are going to be about 100 miles away. LTE towers are only a few miles away. How do you expect it to have higher bandwidth than LTE with communications a hundred miles away? It doesn't matter that they're putting in 4000 satellites, since those satellites are still 100 miles away from the terminal.
Again, I want everyone to be clear: This is going to be MUCH slower and more expensive than LTE.
Like Iridium, this project is only useful for remote areas that can't be reached by roads. Very few people will benefit from this project. It won't change society.
This is another one of Elon Musk's garbage projects that doesn't really advance the state-of-the-art.
There’s valid skepticism of SpaceX’s plan, but none of your points are among it.
SpaceX's particularly large constellation (allowing streaming from multiple satellites at a time and with large phased array antennae on both ends) will allow much higher bandwidth than existing satellite internet systems, but the biggest deal about these LEO satellite constellations over GSO satellites is the far lower latency.
“Another one of Elon Musk’s garbage projects that doesn’t really advance the state-of-the-art.”
Okay, so you’re just trolling, then. Never mind.
And if they're targeting this for cellular base-stations, they're now on the hook to provide an even larger aggregate bandwidth to share among hundreds or thousands of local users per tower.
Major advances in communication technology also precede major military upsets. Only the victors labelled those as progress.
Roman roads, pigeons, semaphore, radio, all used to project military power in profound and overwhelming ways. Radar, sonar (if you’re willing to stretch the definition a little). CDMA (invented by Hedy Lamarr during WWII for torpedos, but not used until the Cuban missile crisis). Cryptanalysis to defeat the Germans. ARPAnet was built to be literally bomb proof.
Could you clarify this and help me understand your viewpoint a bit better?
I’ve been watching tech for a long time and we tell ourselves a lot of half truths. My good friend showed me a private demo of the first web browser that supported images. I was around people who wanted to change the world and it was all thrilling. But I can still recall conversations about how we were all going to slay Big Brother, but instead we made him stronger than ever. It’s really painful to look at your role in that. I’d bet money that half of them still don’t. And that was why I started my post with “careful”. War is just a conterexample. Especially if you have sympathy for the losing side.
Tech will only be good if you exert yourself toward making it so. Here we are with three threads a day talking about how Facebook used their technology for negligence or evil depending on your point of view.
You're leaving out the vast cost to build & maintain the wired infrastructure. Tax payers & consumers in those developing nations have to pay for that. That cost has to be included with the monthly fees to do a serious comparison.
The Manhattan and Tokyo speed tests are more important to me personally than The Grand Canyon and Indian Ocean speed test.
So does it makes the exploitation that comes with it...
Providing internet to the unmotivated masses only results in their exploitation..not in their empowerment.
So as I said again, it ll result in the exploitation of 99.5 percentage and may be empower the rest to attempt something that was impossible before...
Lots of that communication moves through electromagnetic radiation which practically anyone anywhere can use/interfere with. This is a textbook case of a common good which if unmanaged would be effectively destroyed due to the tragedy of the commons .
I would bet that as soon as government begins infringing on the rights to work which affect HN usere, suddenly everyone here would be a civil libertarian.
You're against the government deciding on "removing your right to work", but the alternative is your neighbor or your competitor making that decision for you and overloading "your" spectrum. And you have no recourse to complain, all you can do is push more power, which impacts more people. And your competitor pushes more power, so you push more power and now no one gets to use it.
Libertarian ideas always seem to end in a corporate power struggle while everyone else gets locked out. That doesn't sound like a good outcome to me.
I think the point I was trying to make is missed. Should someone, the OP, criticizing the FCC's role for doing this be downvoted/ridiculed? No, I think it's an important job, because we should always question when rights are taken away from the people and handed over to government.
Maybe it's all too far gone and this is a better discussion to have for a Mars colony, but I still have faith.
At least when going on a cruise I won't have to pay for their shitty expensive satellite Internet.
You know how how much i desire internet connection everytime i travel long distance flights.
DOCSIS3.1 over old copper coax cable, with enough RF channel bonding, can also do 300 to 900 Mbps downstream, again slightly oversubscribed. With much less upstream because the RF channels are usually allocated asymmetrically at a ratio of 10:1 or thereabouts.
This is by no means going to hurt Comcast. Comcast (and similar companies like Wave, RCN, Charter, Shaw, etc) are building DOCSIS3.1 and also overbuilding their own networks with fiber. They have the established right of way through major cities, both on pole and underground, and can incrementally build a FTTN/FTTdP architecture with existing copper, and will eventually overbuild everything with singlemode fiber to the customer.
What this will be revolutionary for is small towns, remote/rural areas. In the US as an example the market for ISP last mile connections that is presently served by either WISPs, or in places where no WISP exists, two-way Ku/Ka-band VSAT terminals (HughesNet, ViaSat, etc). The capacity constrains on traditional geostationary consumer grade VSAT services result in terrible things (TDMA oversubscription that pushes latency to 1150ms during peak hours), and things like 20GB/month transfer quotas. That's for a typical $100/month, 24 or 36-month term with the latest generation of Viasat's services.
For polar regions this will be a big deal because they are presently almost entirely dependent on geostationary C and Ku-band satellite capacity.
On ships: Very relevant and has the potential to capture a ton of market from Inmarsat's I-4 and I-5 series satellites and tech, and Iridium's upcoming maritime products. With a sufficient number (thousands!) of polar orbit satellites it can cover mid ocean areas very effectively.
I live in a rural town. This is most definitely the status quo, and your description might actually be rosier than what happens in reality. It's quite a stark difference compared to the +100Mbps fiber connection that you can get about 60 minutes away in the city.
There are some "middle of the night" lows in traffic use where a few of the consumer VSAT operators offer quota-free traffic. Can be used with bittorrent clients that support time-based scheduling and automatic pausing such as to download a few episodes of your favorite TV show between 0100 and 0445 every morning.
But during peak evening hours, for human-interactive use like web browsing, it's generally going to be a miserable experience.
> This is by no means going to hurt Comcast.
Well, it could, couldn't it? Satellite internet does have the potential to make regional pseudo-monopolies go away, which means Comcast now has price competition. Even if speeds end up being much lower, it will still be plenty fast for lots of people, and the price will be the determining factor.
At the very least, I think this will force Comcast to lower their prices and/or be better.
Those sorts of customers at present usually end up going with a local WISP instead (terrestrial based point-to-multipoint microwave wireless, which can be quite good if implemented right), or something like the consumer grade VSAT systems from hughesnet/viasat. Or maybe a slow but usable very-long-loop-length ADSL2+ connection at only 3.5 Mbps from the ILEC.
But as for places that are solidly in the comcast network, no. Increasing use of feeding small CMTS from 1/10GbE via fiber, and the very high data rate capacity of DOCSIS3.1 as coaxial cable plant segments are broken up into smaller chunks, means that it's feasible for comcast to offer 300 to 900 Mbps service at fairly low costs to large numbers of people in suburban areas. Satellite won't be able to compete with this. And Comcast will be able to come and overbuild their coax with singlemode fiber incrementally to sell either active-ethernet based FTTH or GPON FTTH.
Wow, that is very expensive.
> But as for places that are solidly in the comcast network, no
There are a couple of things which, if they happened, I think could make SpaceX very competitive.
The first is if they could drastically cut the price to consumers. The cheapest Comcast plan in my area (New Mexico, USA) is $75/month. If they offered something like $15 for 15 Mbps I think a lot of people (including me!) would buy it. This would put pressure on Comcast to cut prices (and their margins).
The second would be making a much better product. Imagine being able to take your internet with you wherever you go. I could climb up a mountain, open my laptop, and start working. That sounds pretty appealing.
WISPs sound really interesting, and thanks for all this info!
The oversubscription for consumer grade VSAT services is an economic necessity, based on the fact that with current technology and launch costs, it's a $150 to $200 million project to build and launch a new 5000-6000 kilogram high powered satellite into geostationary orbit. It will have an estimated 15 year usable lifespan.
viasat-2 weighs 6400 kg: http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_sdat/viasat-2.htm
In many regions this will be serious competition to comcast, but in cities traditional ISPs won't go away in the next 30 years.
Everywhere on Earth is going to get a big bandwidth increase, expect for cities (and places not allowed for political reasons). It's an advancement that will continue to help fewer and fewer people.
What remains to be seen is what packet loss will be like with environmental disturbances. That latency is perfectly fine for gaming, but bursts of 20%+ packet loss will quickly flip it back to "sucks for gaming" territory while still being perfectly fine for browsing or Netflix.
The raw RF latency of Iridium in its present state does not correspond with the network topology at layers 2 and 3.
On November 15, 2016, SpaceX filed an application requesting authority for its
proposed NGSO FSS satellite system, comprising 4,425 satellites in 83 orbital planes, at an approximate
altitude of 1,110 to 1,325 kilometers. In this application, SpaceX proposes to operate in the 10.7-12.7
GHz, 13.85-14.5 GHz, 17.8-18.6 GHz, 18.8-19.3 GHz, 27.5-29.1 GHz, and 29.5-30 GHz bands. SpaceX
also requests waivers of certain Commission rules.
Also reversing my question - if they would get denied, could they form company in EU and still shoot satellites from there based on EU permission?
Just curiosity of a hacker in me pushes out these questions ;)
Iridium satellites were the first set of satellites I could find numbers for that made any kind of relevant example. They orbited at 781 kilometers, or 2.6 light milliseconds away. Over 45 times closer.
geostationary orbit dedicated (1:1) transponder capacity, in real world use with large earth stations and SCPC modems, has latency of around 485ms to 490ms for a return trip ping. That's a figure from remote earth station (example: Nauru) to the other end of a link (example: Singapore).
119 x 4 = 476 ms
add anywhere from 10ms to 20ms for a combination of modem Tx encoding, framing, adding FEC, and then the reverse on the Rx side.
nauru router with a 1000BaseLX link into a satellite modem generates one ICMP ping
nauru --> satellite -->
satellite --> singapore
singapore modem does decode, passes IP traffic to a router or something else that can answer ICMP
singapore --> satellite
satellite --> nauru
nauru satellite modem decodes, passes traffic to router
Some of the low cost wireless broadband projects have proposed the use of a ground station fairly nearby as the upstream network provider but I haven't the fuzziest what SpaceX has planned.
In your opinion what fraction of the overall delays in the network are attributable to the diameter of the orbit (great circle distance and ground-to-satellite distance) instead of the limitations of the hardware?
The SpaceX system will likely operate somewhat similarly to o3b, which has a number of backbone link earth stations around the earth, adjacent to major fiber IX points. They don't want to endlessly pass data satellite-to-satellite-to-satellite because that will reduce the overall throughput and capacity of the system. Within a single moving spot beam I bet they are designing the system to pass data satellite-to-satellite if necessary. Or as few hops as possible. Once again using a rural Idaho example, at any given time a satellite or an adjacent pair of satellites in two orbital planes might "see" both a rural cabin CPE, and also a larger earth station/trunk link located next to terrestrial fiber in Boise. The goal is to get the traffic from the CPE to Boise in a few hops as possible. Ideally in a single "bent pipe" relay architecture.
I’ve never had to understand satellite physics beyond explaining to a director why he needed terrestrial internet to solve his telecommunications problem. They get the Grace Hopper explanation (aka the speed of light says data can only move this far per nanosecond)
So like for your example it would have to sell to Chinese customers illegally if it wasn't going to comply with their censorship regulations. Which the Chinese government could then do a lot to fight.
So basically no, satellite internet is unlikely to have any impact on censorship.
Unless the rooftop CPE can be significantly disguised, it'll be difficult for places like Iran. The Iranian government periodically goes on (not very successful) campaigns to get people to remove rooftop Ku-band TVRO, Rx only satellite dishes. Those don't transmit. With a portable spectrum analyzer it will not be difficult to identify starlink rooftop CPE radios.
This is ultimately the same problem that applies to rubber hose cryptanalysis. From a network engineering perspective, if an authoritarian state can use sufficient local resources to control the OSI layer 1, it doesn't matter how good your L2 to L7 are.
I could not be more excited about this.
If so, maybe SpaceX should get into HFT/arbitrage between global markets?
Also provides more context, this company launched from outside the US but as a US company they needed authorization from the FCC for the payload and operating.