This article also gives a pretty decent tl;dr:
Shipping, airplanes, and people/companies otherwise in the middle of nowhere (eg remote mines).
We have a winner!
Speaking as someone who has to regularly do development work from a solar+Jeep-battery-powered satellite internet connection, the more companies that put birds in the air, the better it is for me.
Unfortunately, since startup costs as so high, what little increased competition there is isn't really dropping the price/megabyte ratio.
Save me, Elon Musk!
It's actually web development, deployed on fogs (my name for localized temporary clouds) in very poor, very rural communities in the United States.
It's the sorts of places where roads are primitive, electricity and clean water are scarce, and internet is a luxury. These settlements are often cut off from the outside world for weeks or months each year due to seasonal (deep snow), or temporary (flash floods) events.
"Landline" telephone service, when it exists, is usually via HF radio. If you buy land there, the county makes you sign a document acknowledging that no water, sewer, or medical services are available, and police may take days to get to you. The kinds of places where even FedEx and UPS won't guarantee overnight delivery at any price.
The place where I was last week was seven miles from the fringes of the nearest cell service. But it had pretty fast wifi, thanks to a fixed-microwave link on a single pole stuck 40 feet into the air. Every time a breeze came along, the pole would sway, the dish at the top would go out of alignment, and the connection would drop.
This is why every time I see someone on HN spout about how "You always get an internet connection by hacking your neighbor's wifi connection" I shake my head.
But it's nice to get out of the office every once in a while.
I’d be interested in doing this kind of work, either domestically or internationally.
Money. SV won't hire anyone my age... erm... with my level of experience. And the benefits are ridiculously good.
Is this a side effect of your job or are you helping these communities?
The company helps these communities. I just push buttons so the people who really do the good work can do that good work.
There's a stereotype on HN that all companies exist to make money and that's all. It's simply not true. There are plenty of companies out there that exist to make lives better for other people. My advice is to find a commercial venture that does good things, and has been around for at least a decade. Avoid government and non-profit do-gooder organizations that may get de-funded on a whim.
I'm not one of those "I'm going to change the world!" kind of people. If the money wasn't there, I wouldn't be there. But it's nice to overhear the stories of what's being done and how grateful people are to not be forgotten. It's only very rarely that I'm asked to pitch in on the front line, which I mostly find stressful because I'm not good with people. But there are rewarding scenes that stick in the memory and are not easily forgotten.
If you aren't willing to name the company you work for, do you have other companies you've run into like this that you would recommend people look at?
Friend was telling me about the cost of internet on a superyacht...holy shiiaatt.
The 0.1% really do live in a different world.
Doing web dev over satellite would cost same as on superyacht.
There are 6 planes in the constellation and the satellites were delivered 10-at-a-time on 7 launches, plus 5 satellites on an 8th rideshare launch. There are 11 operational satellites in each plane (plus 9 spares distributed over the planes), and it's easy to see that migration is necessary to fill out all 11 slots in all 6 planes given those launches.
That said, these days its somewhat standardized (see this brochure :https://www.moog.com/content/dam/moog/literature/Space_Defen...) Basically a kinetic mechanism, sometimes a spring, sometimes just gas (aka compressed air), is used to give each satellite a 'kick' when it is released. Once the satellite is unfolded and oriented it can use an on board thruster to move itself to the proper orbit.