I have a property where Starlink would be perfect and I would pay triple the price to be able to do zoom calls over the connection.
They had 1000 or so satellites when I first started testing, and there are now something like 1600 or so. Most of the time, I don't even notice when it switches satellites.
If you were doing some more real-time work or extremely latency-sensitive operations, then yes, you need to stick to a different type of connection. But it's really seamless now, compared to even a few months ago.
Most of the software I used either showed no sign of the dropout, or at worst would freeze a frame or show a loading indicator for a brief moment before getting back to normal.
Online multiplayer gaming and/or streaming are the main areas where I'd have to not recommend Starlink for now.
Was a real life saver on some of the terrible sat connections of yesteryear.
mosh does require UDP ports, though, which might be problematic with some firewalls or proxies.
I suppose Starlink can support a small, negligible, percentage of customers in an urban (or even suburban) area. (Same total number as a rural area.) So, if you think they are going to cutoff registrations as oppose to oversubscribe when they hit that point you may want to sign up right away.
But yes, that density seems fine for Starlink (although maybe it isn't in the end, who knows yet.)
But I also know that most households with FTTH around here use considerably less than 50M.
So perhaps you meant that gigabit internet kills Starlink. FTTH has some advantages over Starlink. But Starlink also has advantages over FTTH. If you need more than 100M, Starlink is not in the game yet. But if you want some leverage with the local monopoly and have typical usage...
Or, if you snowbird (common case here) and want the same provider on the border of Canada and the border of Mexico...
In the US their plans are to be able to support something like 5 million customers. That's less than 5% of the number of customers Comcast has.
It really is by design meant for people in areas that do not have terrestrial broadband.
I think that 5M is a high number (at least with the current number of satellites and their architecture), specially if they do not apply data caps.
I would say that 1M customers in the US is a more reasonable figure. If they hit these number, I expect the performance to degrade significantly.
Maybe that program has covered more than enough people to make it worth talking about, but I didn't see anything like that.
There are also devices that will give you a cellular LTE backup like the U-LTE from UniFi. I’ve heard the plans are a bit pricey.
Enjoy the early adopter moment. Even if they keep increasing the numbers, they will probably move those new satellites in a much wider net to cover more subscribers the second they must show a profit.
So the opposite is true. They’re likely to massively increase the number of satellites.
If you want to argue the per user bandwidth might be different than for early users, that’s somewhat more plausible. But the number of satellites will increase. They can’t actually significantly change the inclination of the satellites once launched as it takes an insane amount of propellant, and even for solar electric thrusters, so your concern about them moving the satellites to other orbits is very unlikely.
The only way to make a wider net whilst simultaneously adding satellites would be to raise the altitude of the satellites, which I am fairly certain is not possible for the existing satellites.
I don't see this at all. I have constant uptime monitoring, and connection drops are now a minute or two per week. We use it for VoIP, there is no cellular coverage at all where I have it deployed.
Edit: Also, I mentioned this in my fuller main comment but this is around the 45th parallel in New England, and around 1500' (500m) above sea level. This location is also within approximately 50-70 miles ground level of two separate Starlink ground station installations. The nature of Starlink is that there is much more of a geographic component than most people are used to in a WAN link, so it's probably important when talking experience to specify rough area of the world one is in. Once the network is completely built up that may not matter much anymore, but at this point there are definite coverage density differences, and with the current bent-pipe usage ground stations matter too more. Anyone interested in getting an idea of current planetary station and sat deployments might find this site interesting:
Compared to the other options which were atrocious (10 MB down max, 3 MB Up max, weather changes everything) - the hiccup you get maybe every 10 minutes for 10 seconds - is annoying but not a deal breaker for VOIP calls. If you are doing client side calls maybe a deal breaker - team calls manageable but annoying. Also I do calls with our Australian team (and were North America based) and they are on cable internet and they get hiccuped in the same amount. So actually I would say that Starlink is on par if not better than their connection.
If you are comparing the internet to city quality cable then yeah not comparable - but thats not what they are targeting. They are bringing remote areas online.
When you lose a connection for a few seconds, maybe even 10 seconds, the video will pause, but when your connection reconnects, it continues where it paused. So you don't miss anything. I believe at some point when the speaker stops talking, like waiting for a response, it will jump cut their video to a more live feed again. So that you don't get too far behind.
I'm curious if anyone here knows about how this works and if it is common practice in live video chat?
Obstructions are a problem, but users with no alternative are much more motivated to locate the dish appropriately.
Starlink is not for people who have gigabit wired connections. For those of us who were lucky to get a hotspot to work long enough to use our 15Gb cap, it is a godsend.
Occasional blips occur, but the call isn’t dropped (and this is with some tree obstruction).
So it’s worth just getting it if that’s what you want it for. It’s probably 10x better than your existing connection.
If you go to https://satellitemap.space/# and enter in your GPS location in the settings (45, -90 for a rural northern Wisconsin as an example), and you can see the satellites that that location has visibility of.
And there are times when there's nothing in that area of the sky.
He mentions that this is due to the Starlink dish's view of the sky being partially obscured by trees.
This will presumably improve as the number of Starlink satellites grows, as it will be more likely that there will be an unobstructed satellite in view at any moment, and less frequent switching between satellites.
1. Trees sway. It did matter for the PtP link in my case.
2. Installation and maintenance took time and it was dangerous.
3. Leaves and branches grow. Obstruction and misalignment over time were problems.
Advantages: it did work, and it was cheap and fun to do. I probably could not have installed a tall enough mast (too ugly to be accepted).
Yep, been our experience as well. We've got a few of us who wanted to trade from our cottages and its just unusable if you need a continuous signal for more than 10 minutes at a time.
That doesn't mean its useless, just that its not usable if you want to do voip, trading, video calls etc.
Hopefully they'll figure out what causes drop ever few minutes at some point. But currently given how expensive it and the hardware are its a very disappointing product.
I guess we're just spoiled now a days with the 1Gbps wired internet that most city homes have access to.
That means the entire system is resilient. A 2-second pause in connectivity usually won't mean the app dies. It means the application presumes it dropped a few packets, which it did.
Now, if you're playing a very fast-paced multi-player game, a 2-second lag at the wrong moment can spell disaster. But most video call programs can easily handle a 2-second blip in connectivity, annoying though it is for participants- I see those all the time on my non-Satellite based internet.
Why is the antenna on the ground and not up on a tall mast?
Here's his YouTube video of the installation:
This sounds terrible for web browsing. Last thing I want is to know is to submit a form and then have my connection drop out in the middle. Imagine being in the middle of filling out an application or opening an account or verifying your identity or something like that.
Local ground service is 20 Mb download and 2 Mb upload. And that's just barely sufficient for watching streaming video and video conferencing. Gigabit service is but a mile and a half away but no one is going to pay to lay the fiber into our neighborhood. So the last mile and a half is copper from 20 years ago. I think that's going to require political will to fix and I don't think that political will exists right now nor will it in the near future. We could have paid $5,000 per house to lay it ourself but our own neighborhood couldn't come to consensus on that. Now imagine that at a national level.
So if they just deliver 100/100 within a year or two, this is an epic win IMO and I will cancel ground service. And if they don't someone else will so I'm not worried. But it took Teslas to spark the electric vehicle industry. Now there's a lot of choice. I wouldn't be surprised if something similar happens here.
I imagine once Starlink is an actual choice, the telecoms will install wireless at the end of the fiber and offer you faster, more reliable service than Starlink.
They don't do it now because they get your money without having to do anything at all.
T-Mobile Home Internet is already available to 30M households in the US (out of around 130M households so around 20-25% of US households). T-Mobile is looking to have 7-8M subscribers within the next 5 years which would make them the 4th largest ISP (behind Xfinity, Spectrum, and AT&T). Verizon is looking to cover 50M households by the end of 2024 which is years away, but shows that 5G home internet is coming.
Wired home internet companies aren't avoiding installing a wireless link at the end of their fiber out of spite. It's a combination of who has wireless spectrum and the technology/capacity available. If you're talking about Xfinity or Spectrum, they don't have the wireless spectrum to offer that. If you're talking about Verizon/AT&T/T-Mobile, they're working on it, but it takes time for the technology and spectrum to be there to provide the capacity people expect for a home internet connection. The recently concluded C-Band auction means that wireless carriers are going to have more spectrum available to provide more capacity (and they spent nearly $100B getting it). 5G NR provides more speed and capacity.
If it was just out of spite, Verizon/AT&T/T-Mobile would have been offering wireless home internet for years in areas where they had no wired network. They weren't getting the money in places where they didn't own the local telco (which for T-Mobile is everywhere and for Verizon/AT&T is most places). Even when they owned the local telco, most people would be buying cable internet.
The problem is that home internet isn't easy. A wireless customer probably uses 10GB of data on average. Streaming HD Netflix is 2-3GB per hour. Home internet usage is usually an order of magnitude higher (and can be even higher than that). Basically, you need to increase your network capacity by at least 10x if you're going to be signing up home internet customers. With new technologies and spectrum, that's what wireless carriers are doing over the next 1-5 years.
I think that terrestrial wireless will be big in the future, but it's not because of Starlink putting pressure on telecoms. It's because their networks are going to be seeing massive capacity upgrades over the next few years that will enable it. Verizon/AT&T/T-Mobile would have loved to offer wireless home internet years ago, but the technology and capacity simply wasn't there. I mean, they did offer home internet years ago, but it often cost hundreds of dollars a month and was only available in really rural areas (not just places that might hate 20Mbps service). But new tech and capacity gains are allowing them to offer new service. T-Mobile is first out of the gate because it got new spectrum earlier, but Verizon and AT&T will be following in the coming years.
But it appears to only be available to people in mid sized cities. In other words, people that already have somewhat acceptable internet service options.
The problem is the metastasis of ridiculous dynamic content that is driving up bandwidth requirements and latency and delivering a reduced quality Internet experience in return, not because dynamic content is intrinsically bad, but because of how it's being utilized.
But in both situations I've lived through recently, the fiber has been just out of reach along main roads for some time now. And I know a bunch of people in similar situations on side streets where AT&T and XFinity declined to extend service after building the infrastructure along main roads to do exactly that.
Anecdote: during 2019's power shut offs because of high winds, my house lost power for 3 days, but my neighbor 25' from me did not lose power. Seems like a similar situation in some ways. Both of our houses were on hills served by separate power lines less than a quarter mile from a main road. The only qualitative difference I can think of is that the last 200 ft to my house is below ground.
Upgrading to my first 5G phone recently made voice service work at my house but did nothing for data.
Keep in mind T-Mobile and AT&T are entirely different providers. AT&T coverage may be better where you live.
Edit: I just walked through the neighborhood repeatedly invoking speed test and I can get 50 megabits at various points. But I can't get it anywhere on my own property. There's no real rhyme or reason that I can see as to where it's good and to where it's bad.
I'm a little worried about it. Other than Amazon's Project Kuiper, I don't really see who else can compete.
Unlike EVs there's not an existing industry that's doing _mostly_ the same thing, that just needs to start offering a new line. Running a LEO megaconstellation is extremely different than putting up a handful of massive geostationary satellites. I just don't see the existing satellite internet players being able to compete.
Frankly, it's a massive investment of resources to get started (which is true for auto manufacturers as well), but doing it economically requires launch costs that only SpaceX is currently able to provide.
Nobody else wants to build a competitor to Starlink by paying SpaceX. Which is why I think Amazon's Kuiper is the best shot to compete—but it requires Blue Origin's New Glenn to come online to really get the economics working. I know Amazon has tapped ULA as a launch provider in the interim, so they'll be able to start getting satellites up and running soon, but the economics seem...painful if they're going to use expendable rockets for the bulk of the constellation.
It's definitely possible that we see a flourishing of offerings, but I could also see a world where in 5 years time there's really only still Starlink.
I'm not sure what you mean here. Outside of, say, military usage, every single telecom company is a competitor to Starlink. Internet is internet.
This commercial product is turning out to be what the "naysayers" thought it would be; brilliant if you're in a place with terrible internet, but noncompetitive in any kind of urban environment.
Again, imho, the huge thing here is the ability to get a quick internet set up anywhere in the world that can't easily be taken down (...military).
With regard to satellite Internet mega-constellations, it is true thus far. The two other major constellations (OneWeb and Kuiper) have avoided SpaceX as a launch provider, choosing competitors instead – OneWeb has gone with Arianespace Soyuz and Virgin; Kuiper has chosen ULA (and is assumably going to choose Blue Origin too once they are ready). SpaceX has said they are happy to launch competitor constellations, but it makes sense that its competitors aren't happy to fund their competition. It is very unlikely that Arianespace or ULA can actually beat SpaceX on price, so avoiding funding your competition is the only logical explanation for OneWeb and Kuiper's decisions.
SpaceX is launching other satellite telecommunications systems, that obviously also compete with Starlink to some extent, but less head-on. For example, they are contracted to launch one of the ViaSat-3 satellites. ViaSat-3 is a satellite Internet constellation, so in that sense does compete, but it only has 3 satellites in geostationary orbit, so it isn't really going after the same direct market as Starlink. (ViaSat appears to be getting scared of Starlink, as evidenced by their anti-Starlink applications to FCC and threats of a lawsuit; given that, I wonder how much longer they'll be willing to buy launch services from SpaceX.)
It’d be great if they were still working on it, though
They have done 8 launches so far, including 4 this year, with another 5 scheduled this year and then more next year. At the moment they have 248 operational satellites in their constellation. Their goal is 648 satellites, which is gong to take them (approximately) 11 more launches.
But 648, is quite small in scale compared to Starlink's plan for an initial constellation of 12,000, with an additional 30,000 currently going through the approval process. Starlink already has more working satellites in orbit than OneWeb's planned full constellation size.
Given that, it is difficult for OneWeb to compete with Starlink head-on, so they are basically ceding to Starlink the B2C space and going after B2B instead. I think with UK government and UK military they are going to have some success, since the UK will likely prefer OneWeb given that it is a UK-headquartered company with partial UK government ownership.
I think competition in this space is important in the long run.
That’s certainly true, but there are real physical limitations that make it hard to compete with Starlink without a LEO constellation.
Sure, you could do ground based infrastructure build outs, but the population density means it’s not profitable or you have to charge really high rates to make up the fixed costs. Other satellite providers can compete in the rural areas, but Geo and LEO are have important differences. The first is latency (internet is internet but 60ms internet is not the same as 600ms internet).
When I made the statement I did, I was mostly referring to satellite internet providers, because land based providers have largely abandoned or drastically underserved this market segment.
I don’t see a GEO constellation being able to provide a similar internet offering to Starlink ever, due to light delay. I don’t think ground based solutions will pop up to start competing for these low density market, because they’ve already been written off as unprofitable even before there was serious competition for the market.
> This commercial product is turning out to be what the "naysayers" thought it would be; brilliant if you're in a place with terrible internet, but noncompetitive in any kind of urban environment.
Well that’s probably because the naysayers were predicting the exact same thing as the supporters. Spaced has described Starlink consistently as being designed to service rural and suburban areas that are underserved by existing providers. The goals never were to compete with providers in super high density urban markets.
I’ve been a huge supporter of Starlink since the first announcement, and it’s shaping up pretty much how I imagined which also lines up with your description.
I don't think we'll get there any time soon (or ever), but kind of an interesting thought experiment.
That is, if we had an very large number of companies wanting to create satellite internet constellations, we would run out of useful EM spectrum before we would run out of LEO orbits.
I'm not positive about that, though!
I don’t think anyone would worry about 1800 or even 180000 things spread over the entire surface of the earth. We have billions of cars, and they mostly avoid running into each other. Even 100 miles up? Far, far more space - and a lot less ‘stuff’ to worry about too.
They could pack a million satellites up there and basic traffic management would be more than enough to avoid collisions.
But it's definitely don't comparable to cars. Say you want safety margin of mere 1 second, that means reserving 8 kilometers free corridor in front of every satellite. At all times. That isn't a small volume.
Airplanes are only required to keep 1,000 to 2,000 feet vertical separation. They travel at much slower speed than satellites (550 mph vs. 17,200 mph), but they are also much bigger. They tend to travel in narrow corridors, as opposed to being spread out like satellites.
NASA and SpaceX have started working together to address the collision issues with their fleet:
I suspect more safety time will be required. Say a micrometeoroid impact happens causing one satellite to go off track. Now the controller computer needs some time to recompute whole swarm trajectories to minimize debris impacts. Even sats that are currently on the other side of planet might need to start thrusters immediately, as it takes only 10 minutes on average to cover the distance.
4 * 3.1459 * (6378^2)
Starlink is orbiting at 550km altitude (approx). At that altitude, we’re looking at…
4 * 3.1459 * (6928^2) = 603,977,365 km2
The thing to keep in mind about orbits is the defining factor is your eccentricity and velocity. Faster velocity == higher orbit, assuming it’s a round/circular orbit, that velocity will also be consistent.
As long as everyone is going
in the same direction and trying to maintain a circular orbit, you can stack orbits ‘on top’ of each other or put satellites quite close to each other just like planes do with flight levels. So even that number is misleading, as you could 10x that if you had decent traffic control.
Even without that, you’re talking a density of 1 satellite per 600 square kilometers of space with a million satellites for a given ‘flight level’.
The velocity matters a lot less than the relative velocity to other things you might be nearby - think of it like two cars going in lanes next to each other on the same ‘direction’ of a freeway, vs a free for all demolition derby with no traffic control, lanes, etc.
If everyone is co-ordinated you can have problem free high density. If random stuff is happening, including people potentially trying to hit you - it’s going to be a mess. If everyone just does whatever and never co-ordinates, yeah someone is eventually going to run into someone else - but unless there are a LOT of satellites, the odds are low.
With it being LEO, debris and dead satellites are also going to be a aerobraked pretty quickly.
2) Many of these incidents are from people are also putting things in Lagrange points and Geosynchronous orbits, and similar 'crowded' areas of space - unlike these constellations. Think jostling for space in downtown Manhattan, vs being fine having a place in Kansas somewhere.
3) Right now it's mostly a demolition derby out there, with only minimal traffic handling/control and the occasional 'haha, I got you' intentional satellite explosion/missile test.
As noted, even with all those factors, it is still incredibly rare. Only a tiny handful of problems have been tracked to orbital collisions with anything man made, and that is with us putting all sorts of things (including 'off the books' military top secret satellites, nuclear reactors, random bits of micro satellites, etc.) up there since the 50's.
Months is pretty quick for this kind of thing - and remember, unless it gets energy from some kind of serious-delta-v impact (or other delta-V adding type of event like a high energy explosion), it will lose velocity and DROP in altitude if the orbit remains circular. If the orbit doesn't remain circular, especially at LEO, it will have to dip significantly into the atmosphere to get to a higher altitude at any point in it's orbit, meaning even faster degradation and burn-up.
The reality is that it's huge up there, and if we do even basic thinking and planning on this to not do something obviously dumb (like tangential, perpendicular, or opposite direction orbits all over the place at the same level), it isn't likely to be a significant problem; just like it hasn't been a real (as in significant probability event) problem so far.
Cosmic rays, high potential static build-up, magnetic storms, micrometeorites, etc. are just as big or more of a problem. They rarely cancel a mission or damage anything notable, but it isn't zero risk there either.
The analogy with cars is a bit tricky though as we have well defined rules that help us pack them very closely together on the surface. For example: roads, lanes, controlled intersections. Those things aren't quite the same when talking about orbits because cars and satellites aren't spread out the same way.
The other commenter made the point about some safety margin, which obviously has to be a part of the equation. The speed and error of orbits would play into whatever that number comes out to be.
Regardless of there being lots of space, there's still some limit, even if it's 1,000 constellations.
Some variables I don't quite know:
1. Acceptable altitude range for constellations
2. Typical positioning error of a satellite
3. Average failure rate and failure mode of a satellite
- ex. does a dead satellite automatically deorbit itself or do we need to wait for the orbit to decay? I'd imagine decay at that altitude is fairly quick. Would a decaying satellite in a higher orbit need to be accounted for?
I'm sure there are other factors, too...
Except the laws of physics I guess. Geosynchronous orbit is about 36,000 km out so best case scenario if you were going straight up to a satellite in such an orbit and back down even at the speed of light in a vacuum that’s a lower bound of a quarter of a second of latency. So unless these legacy satellite internet companies launch LEO constellations of their own, which there’s no indication they’re capable of doing, it seems pretty hopeless for them.
Well, they can’t improve the latency of their service due to light delay. If they want to compete on that front, they need to move to a LEO constellation.
Neither HughesNet nor ViaSat has started working on LEO constellations (publicly anyway), and these things take years. If they want to get into LEO constellations, they’ve ceded a 5 year head start to SpaceX.
I’m not optimistic that either of them will be able to remain competitive with Starlink over the next decade.
I’d love to dig into the other offerings that the GEO players plan to provide. My dad was a Day 1 sign up for the Starlink beta, because it’s dramatically better than any offerings in his area (including existing Satellite), but I’d definitely like to share any better upcoming options with him.
I think latency might be a deal breaker for him, because they do a fair amount of video calling and don’t like the audio lag
Now, these numbers are all well and good, but they don't include the cost of the ground system and the terminals, and I don't know what those will be. But, I would expect them to be cheaper, most crucially because GEO gives you more flexibility in where you place ground stations (vs LEO) and once you aim the dish, you pretty much never have to move it (LEO dishes spend their whole life slewing to match the satellites; it turns out that requires some parts that aren't so cheap.)
Anyway, I don't know what Starlink or Viasat's pricing will be in a few years, but I think Viasat will have a competitive edge in terms of overall cost.
Latency is definitely an issue for some users and some applications. If you watch what Hughes has been saying for years, it's that the future is hybrid, where a terminal uses both LEO and GEO, for what they're best suited for (i.e., interactive traffic over LEO, big, cheap bulk bits over GEO.) If you Google a bit, you can see the Viasat press releases alluding to this same capability. I don't know if/when that tech will make it to residential service, but I would expect that if there's unmet market demand, they'll get it out there.
I really hope not. There are enough satellites out there, there are already too many, space pollution is real. Maybe we can find a better solution to this particular problem.
There are many more LEO satellites, true, but their orbital placement is such that the satellite's orbit naturally decays in a few years. Which means if a satellite becomes uncontrollable (or is destroyed in some way), the debris will clear in a relatively short period of time.
I'm actually much more concerned about the much smaller number of satellites in medium and geostationary orbits, where the decay time is decades or centuries.
Failed satellites or debris in these orbits will take a very long time to clear, and strikes me as a much larger concern than the larger number of LEO sats
Would a volcanic eruption in New York be very bad? Yeah, I guess it would, but, that's not going to happen. Whereas California has several volcanoes that - while we've no reason to expect them to erupt this year - certainly can't be ruled out for our lifetimes, so, makes sense to manage that risk not worry about New York.
† A Starlink, or a GPS bird, has a "ball of yarn" orbit, it doesn't really matter which part of the planet it's over at any particular time so long as we can predict where it'll be for the near future. But the whole point of a Geostationary satellite is its apparent fixed location in the sky from a point on the ground. To do that it needs to orbit at the same rate the Earth spins, limiting the orbital radius to a tight band - and it also needs to orbit over the equator, the result is all GEO birds are in more or less identical orbits, just offset in time.
If we have a collision that causes a significant amount of debris in a medium earth orbit, that debris will continue to exist for a very long time, so a wide portion of that orbit will be unusable or dangerous.
> Would a volcanic eruption in New York be very bad? Yeah, I guess it would, but, that's not going to happen.
That's fair, but I think your analogy might fall down on the comparative risks of damaged or destroyed satellites in LEO/MEO compared to the comparative risks of volcanic activity in CA/NY.
Yes, it's true that there is a larger risk of collisions in LEO with the number of satellites operating there. And it's true with the larger number of satellites, there are more risks of a satellite losing control. But that doesn't mean GEO and MEO satellites are without risk. Just last year there was a significant risk that a GEO satellite had the potential to explode due to a failing battery (https://spacenews.com/directv-fears-explosion-risk-from-sate...).
I'm mostly interested in hedging against worst case scenarios, and the worst case scenario for a LEO constellation is much less problematic than the worst case scenarios for MEO constellations.
It's unlikely that they (Starlink or someone else) will offer symmetrical speeds. It's not that they're looking to be mean to you. It's that uplink is harder and people use a lot more downlink.
Even if they dedicated as much wireless spectrum to downlink and uplink, uplink would likely be slower. We see this on traditional cell networks. They dedicate as much spectrum to uplink as downlink, but their cell tower is able to better transmit than your equipment and so the downlink becomes faster. Even with so many more users downloading than uploading (and causing congestion), the downlink is usually faster.
Newer wireless networks aren't going to dedicate equal spectrum to downlink and uplink (using time-division instead of frequency division to separate downlink and uplink). Again, this isn't to be mean to you. It's just a reality that people use a lot more downlink bandwidth than uplink. Starlink isn't immune from that reality.
Elon Musk has already said that they should be able to hit 500,000 customers, but that scaling to millions of customers will be difficult. They're going to have to cap how many people get service in an area and/or put in network management to make sure that some users don't use up all the bandwidth from others nearby.
They're also going to need to focus on downlink capacity to serve what users need. That doesn't mean unusable uplink. As you noted, 10-25Mbps uplink is an important improvement. But wireless internet options (including Starlink) will need to balance that with the downlink capacity users need.
> We could have paid $5,000 per house to lay it ourself but our own neighborhood couldn't come to consensus on that
Over 10 years, that's $42/mo. Over 20 years, $21/mo. That's non-trivial if the solution to your internet woes might just be a couple years away. It's probably one of the big reasons why wired companies won't want to be spending money expanding networks in suburban/rural areas. Let's say that you invest in a network expansion and you expect to make it back over the next 20 years. Then 3 years into your investment, Starlink, T-Mobile, and Verizon are all offering home internet service to your customers. Sure, your fiber network might be "better", but that will only attract some users. Others might get a package deal from their wireless carrier giving them a better price. Now you go from having 90% of households to 50% of households and the investment that you made probably won't work out. For most people, 100Mbps is plenty. Sure, some people love the low-ping times of fiber and love gigabit speeds. People like us here on HN. For most people, they want to be able to use Netflix/YouTube/Facebook/etc. and there's going to be a lot of competition for that market.
> Now imagine that at a national level
Realistically, this already exists on the national level in that we spend billions subsidizing rural connections. Starlink is receiving lots of government money to provide rural internet. I think a big question is whether Starlink is looking to grow well beyond what the government will subsidize and whether government subsidies will flow to other companies more. I'm sure that AT&T/T-Mobile/Verizon are all looking at what rural internet subsidies might come their way as they launch rural home internet.
We do have some political will to fix the situation, but it's a very expensive situation to fix for a lot of rural areas in a wired way. Should people in cities subsidize suburban/rural lifestyles? As a country, we pour money into roads, low fuel prices (even as climate change ravages the planet), rural telecommunications, etc. If every home in your area is on 2 acres of land, it's going to cost more to wire up the place, it's going to cost more to get roads everywhere, it's going to use more fuel to get from place to place.
We do spend a lot making rural internet happen. It's just an expensive proposition. Heck, Starlink is very expensive at a $550 startup cost + $100/mo. That isn't cheap competition to wired internet - and that's after large government subsidies that might end up being $2,000 per user. Starlink has received $900M in federal money and Elon Musk is hoping to serve 500,000 users so that would be $1,800 per user from the government. That's not the $5,000 your service provider wanted to extend fiber, but it's still a lot of money. Plus, Starlink is likely to be getting more federal money in the future (and they might end up serving a couple million users).
There is political will and we've spent incredible amounts of money over many decades and continue to spend even more. It's just hard to serve many rural areas. If one is in an area with 5 people per square mile, that's a lot of wire for very few users. Wireless/satellite might make the most sense since installing one thing could serve hundreds or thousands of users. Even 20-50 people per square mile can be a lot of work to wire up.
While wireless home internet is in its infancy right now, I'd expect it to get a lot better over the next 5 years. As you noted, your neighbor installed a 20-foot mount to get better reception. T-Mobile Home Internet customers are rigging up directional antennas mounted on the outside of their homes to get better speeds. Given that people install satellite dishes for TV, it seems very reasonable that we'll see wireless antennas installed to offer internet service. Again, when something is in its infancy, there are less options and it's less fully realized. But that will change over time.
I think the next 5 years will be an exciting time for home internet. I don't think that Starlink is going to be doing most of the exciting stuff and I don't think we'll see symmetrical connections, but I think we'll see great stuff that will bring better connections to people who need it and will bring competition to the marketplace to prevent monopoly providers from taking advantage of their customers.
Except... The value of each house would probably increase by $10K-$15K or so:
"Controlling for speed, homes in CBGs where fiber is available have a price that is about 1.3 percent more than similar homes without fiber."
My new neighbors are increasingly tech TLAs as the former generation sells their homes off for 2-3x what they paid 20+ years ago. Median house price in my neighborhood is ~$1.1M ATM.
> Applying this strategy to a micro data set from England between 1995 and 2010 we find a significantly positive effect, but diminishing returns to speed.
England isn’t filled with million dollar homes.
Regardless, we do have Starlink, and it is transformative.
In the UK, BTs 'fibre' rollout is almost exclusively FTTC and then copper phone lines after that. My parents have a phone line from 35 years ago, and the cabinet is maybe half a mile away, but they can get 50 Mbit down (I can't remember upload, maybe around 15 Mbit). The provider rolled this out a lot quicker than ADSL (we never got ADSL2), so I assume it's technically not that complicated.
The New Zealand government invested ~ £750 million into fibre to the premises infrastructure, in partnership with other companies. About 80% of NZ homes have access, with say half of those actually using it, but percentage is growing. Usable plans are about £40 per month. In my city you can’t sign up to a cable connection, even if the house is already wired up for it. I belive you even have trouble signing up for copper, because the infrastructure companies just don’t want to support it. The main competitor left is mobile, although I would love to see StarLink be available here.
There are a lot more people in the UK though, housing is much denser and people are very resistant to change; it's easier to rip up the ground in NZ bc our country has only existed for 150 years, in the UK it's a lot harder with all sorts of caveats/consents.
Same as covid: Jacinda did an excellent job, but at the same time as a realistic kiwi, it's very true that NZ has a very small, spread out population and the benefit of being small and extremely southerly, international travel just isn't as prevalent there as say, Europe.
However actual usage is quite different. If your Internet seems fine, why would you buy a more expensive service that claims to be "faster"? In my city Toob are trying to aggressively acquire customers for FTTP with a price they're presumably losing money on, but I don't expect that to last.
The technology for a setup like your parents is either VDSL or G.fast. Near to their old (perhaps slightly battered) green BT cabinet is a newer one, the newer one has fibre to it, and a DSLAM, the DSLAM ties to the old cabinet with copper, and so only that "maybe half a mile away" distance is covered by the DSL technology, from there it's fibre.
Or build a government run version. though while lots of good reasons to - e.g. low rates, free access for kids etc - letting Gov own even more of our internet is probably not great.
Except for outages related to obstructions. That's a real problem and the author's situation is not good. There's ways to work around it on your property; a taller mount, a tree install, cutting some trees. But ultimately Dishy needs a clear view to the north and there's no getting around it.
I have some smaller obstructions for my install and it was a little annoying but fine. But in the past week or two it's gotten way better: my packet loss went from 2% to 0.6%. Details here: https://nelsonslog.wordpress.com/2021/07/20/starlink-improve...
I don't know much about radio or Starlink's signals, but is this a situation where a strategically-placed radio reflector would help? Assuming those are a thing. So like, a reflector mounted on both sides of a large tree. Are the signal beams too narrow for this to matter?
I know that our Satellite TV dish when I was a kid had to point to a specific angle southwards, to match the geostationary position, but I'd not expect that with Starlink, unless you were in the Falklands or Antarctica, or something?
Starlink would probably work even better if they didn't have to deal with this restriction, but Starlink might not have been allowed to exist if they didn't design it to work this way.
Your satellite TV dish is talking to something 36,000km up in geosynchronous orbit, around the equator. That's to the south of you.
Starlink are in 550km orbits moving very fast around the planet in a fairly inclined orbit. As another commenter has said, the apparent effect is the cluster tends to "hang out" in the north. It's complicated, a good visualization should help explain it. I don't have one at my fingertips.
coder543's answer elsewhere here seems to furnish the remainder of my confusion.
The radius at a northern latitude is smaller than at the equator, so the satellites are more tightly clustered.
I think coder543's answer is wrong, or at least has the causality backwards. Those geosync orbits are very, very far away from the LEO orbits of Starlink.
I just don't see how - sans external requirement - pointing up isn't more efficient.
- ed. Ok, sorry, I get it. Aim in any direction and you have access to more satellites, even if further away. Pointing up isn't 180º access. Reception is probably less than 90º, I guess? My bad, I'm dumb.
I'm in rural Arkansas, near the southern edge of the rollout still I believe. I have maintained 3 ISPs this whole time. I have an EM160R LTE modem that will do 5x carrier aggregation and pulls around 240-250 mbit from my local AT&T tower. I also have T-Mobile's 4g home internet (5g works here on my phone, but they won't give me the home internet for whatever reason) which pulls 100-115 mbit. Starlink itself is somewhere between 180 and 240 down, but only 15 up. On the ATT line I can get 40-60 mbit upload, and that's one of the main reasons I keep things set up this way.
I'm about to try disabling the wan port for T-Mobile to see what it's like without that ISP. I don't do any connection bonding - straight up round robin load balancing with no stickyness, and with the amount of servers and services that use multiple TCP streams I can see 300+mbit downloads often. Pings range from 30 (when using Starlink) to 90. (when using one of the LTE connections)
I no longer game enough to comment on it. My kids play Roblox and PS4 online games and don't whine about it, so I think it's sufficient.
I don't really do Zoom meetings. MS Teams is what we use. I don't use the camera very often, but the calls will pause and drop and the people I work with have coined this as, "being Starlinked". Usually a few seconds and rarely does it take an actual redial to reconnect anymore. Just a dead period.
Even with the occasional dropouts Starlink is 10-100x better than any other option that we have here (the only options are LTE, or other satellites, like xplornet).
Even though we're only a few minutes drive from a municipality of 160,000 people and on a major highway, there, is no wired connection, and doesn't really seem likely that a wired connection will ever happen. Since moving here 7 years ago the pricing/data rates for the LTE data packages available have doubled in price. Literally doubled.
With Covid we had two adults working from home, and two kids home schooling, on a slow LTE connection with a total bandwidth of 100GB up/down. Even things like windows updates required planning and rationing of the internet.
The state of connectivity in Canada is so abysmal. At this point I hope Starlink matures enough to add a voice service.
This adds some color perhaps to the argument that this is for underserviced regions -- they don't mean third-world or impoverished even though it sounds like that, at least when I heard people defending Starlink.
Three random examples:
Of course, once you're doing the 'USA-megahome-sized' thing, it's pointless to bother with energy efficient fridges. And many people don't!
I know we are all used to 24 hour internet, but if I were energy-conscious or off-grid, I might want to turn it on for 3-4 half-hour sessions during the day.
I know a few people who have Starlink on an outlet timer or WiFi switched outlet, and only have it run during the day. It seems to be okay with that.
 Table 2.2.1 https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/annual-d...
 Claiming typical down speeds of 50Mbps-100Mbps
And yes, that's easily over a hundred dollar a year.
Also, if you aren't off-grid, you're apparently not so far from civilisation that previous utility suppliers couldn't be bothered to provide service to you. Maybe if this generation's utility suppliers got their act together you wouldn't need Starlink anyway.
People who are off grid might grumble at having to provision more solar, battery and inverter capacity.
But for people who have other Internet options, $18/month might influence their decision.
But even with insane generation rates, most of the electric bill is the power company service fee, not the generation fee.
For example, out of a $200/mo bill, maybe $50 is electric generation, the rest is the service fee. PG&E is insanely badly run.
In other words is it 100W all the time because of physics or is it just "sub optimal" hardware that in theory can be mitigated through smarter protocols and fancier hardware?
The "all the time"-part is of course something that can be worked on even without changing the hardware. A simple switch on the outlet to turn it off during the night or if everybody is at work/school and thus doesn't need it would reduce power consumption a lot already.
"Fancier hardware" could also mean a timer for the outlet switch or a "smart home"-solution. This could mitigate connection time by turning the router back on before you arrive at home/wake-up.
There's a lot of potential for not having to use 100W all the time without hardware changes.
Talking to a satellite in space through the atmosphere has a lot of attenuation. That's for the physics.
For comparison, wifi is 0.03W for 100 meters, mobile phones are 2W for 35km range. A satellite using 100W is not out of the ordinary.
There's a balance to decide on, power vs bandwidth, noting that doubling power has little effect on signal (log2). They could probably half the power for little difference in operation, but a notable difference on the bill.
It's exactly the sort of thing that should be adjustable, there could be a setting to adjust power/bandwidth/quality. Both for customers and for support.
edit: the video mentions up to 300 Mbps and up to 200W power consumption during snow (extra power to melt the snow). They have a lot of margin to reduce power while still being able to watch YouTube 4k.
Is it, though? The price drops have been significant, yes, but the efficiency of COTS panels hasn't seen any dramatic improvements in the past 20 years. Silicon panels have a theoretical limit of 29% efficiency and current models are close to 20%. There's not much room for improvement left there.
A 400Wp panel won't be able to provide 400W most of the time to begin with. Unless you're in the middle of a desert near the equator and have a sun-tracking installation, weather and varying daylight hours are a thing.
Under realistic conditions, a single 400W panel gets you between half and two thirds of the required power (e.g. up to ~1.5kWh/day, depending on location).
Just a quick reminder: 400Wp means the panel produces 400W of electricity when brand new (it'll degrade over time), at 23°C ambient temperature and an incident angle of 0° (i.e. sun directly over it). None of that is generally the case 8h a day on average, which is why your estimation won't work.
Depending on where you live, optimal sun hours vary between 3.5h/day and 6.5/day (continental US) or 2.9/h/day to 5.9h/day (most of Europe) .
You'd also need to plan for big batteries, since seasonal differences may be huge depending on latitude.
My office has 5kW of panel hung, 10kWh of battery, and my Starlink terminal is on the house system (grid tied) because an extra 2.4kWh/day isn't workable with my system in the winter, short of a LOT of generator time - I'm severely power limited during inversions, and the Starlink dish more than doubles my office's "idle power draw" (it's the property network hub, one of our internet connections, inverter idle, sleeping computers, etc).
Yesterday, the 15.9kWh system on the house produced 78kWh for a "sun factor" of about 4.9, so a 400W panel would produce about 2 kWh. Whoops. That's not 2.4.
In the dead of winter, the same system can produce 2.5 kWh - yes, 2.5 kWh on a 15.9kW nameplate system. A 400W panel won't even power on the charge controller in those conditions.
To reliably power a 100W load, 24/7, in most areas, requires probably 1500-2000W of panel and 20+kWh of battery - or someone willing to light a generator, which is the far cheaper option. But "a 400W panel and batteries" (implied as a trivial thing to set up) definitely won't. It won't even run it 24/7 in peak sun most of the year.
... and that's before it tries to melt the snow off. From the blog post:
> During the heavy snowfall, Dishy quickly spiked up to 125W, peaking at 175W towards the end of the snowstorm.
Solar panels don't produce much covered in snow, either.
I deal with the realities of off-grid power in my office on a daily basis, and a vast majority of what's written about solar and batteries by people who don't have experience with them is simply wrong. I try to correct it where I can.
With a 400W panel and a few kWh of batteries, you could reasonably accomplish 14-16 hours of access during peak sun in the summer, 8-12 hours in spring and fall, and 0-3 hours in winter, except for 5-6 hours on sunny winter days.
Although I've heard that the newer Dishys use somewhat less power (50-70W), which does improve things.
The problem is that after 48h, then... what do you have? You need to have either enough panel area to both run loads and charge the batteries, often in dim conditions, or you need a lot more battery.
Doing reliable off grid power takes a lot more than most people who haven't dealt with it assume, especially if you're dealing with serious winters and don't want to light a generator.
I'm basing my estimates off what it would require for me to run 2.4kWh/day, year round, without generator, on my office system - and it takes a LOT. I have 5kW of panel, 10kWh of battery, a typical winter day load of around 3kWh (base loads + minimal compute loads for a work day), and I still require a couple gallons a year of gas to run this reliably. Depending on the winter, I go through 3-5 gallons of propane for heat as well, though I've been trying to move to kerosene - more efficient, as I can run a lantern as a combined heat/light plant on my desk, and heat my hands, which are the only real constraint on cold temperature work in there.
I know those numbers sound somewhat nonsensical for a 100W load, but I literally make a living in an off-grid office...
With heat inverter pump tech. taking over fridges, water heaters, AC, etc. and making them so much more efficient, it can give a lot of headroom on energy requirements.
I'm sure that for a few hours during the summer, the solar irradiance in London is probably 90% of what it is at the equator. That doesn't help most of the year.
Starlink has like 1700 of the planned 42,000 satellites in orbit now. Of course there are going to be temporarily blips in service plus the random longer dropouts during system upgrades.
Even with the current issues, the service is revolutionary in the remote areas that it's intended to service. Why Geerling thinks it's appropriate to compare beta starlink to his home cable/fiber service is beyond me. It's totally fair to review the current state of starlink, but to then conclude that "I don't love it" because it's not as good as his cable service is just plain dumb.
Why did you even begin the review with the expectation that it could be better than your land service in it's current beta form? You're not even supposed to be on the starlink service if you have great landline bandwidth and starlink should block you from their service as you're stealing bandwidth from people who don't have access to high speed internet.
One person even said "I hope they can figure out why it drops occasionally" as if some of the smartest people on the earth don't know exactly why it drops out. It drops because the satellite mesh network is only 4% complete!
The point is for the reader to figure out if they should try Starlink right now (if eligible) or if they should wait for some of these issues to be resolved.
To put it another way: would you complain that reviewers were judging Google Glass unfairly, because Google had grandiose plans for it in the future (that ultimately never happened)? Or would you recognize that Google made the decision to sell Google Glass in its current form, and thus accepted that it would be judged against its competitors?
But to compare it as an equal, in it's beta form, against a service that it's not even built to compete against is just plain dumb. If you already have access to high speed internet, starlink it not intended for you.
His final comment about "Liking, but not loving starlink" implies that he's comparing starlink to cable internet as equal competitors. They are not and they are not intended to be and that's even considering the fact that starlink is in beta.
This guy should not even be allowed on starlink (in the long run) because he already has access to high speed internet.
This whole comment section is full of stupidity like:
"isn't 100watts a lot of power?" <-- typed from gaming computer with a 1000watt power supply
"what about space garbage, isn't space garbage bad" <-- as if LEO garbage won't just decay back to earth
"will starlink be like FSD and maybe never get delivered" <-- as if they are related issues, they are not
"I don't like Elon" <- because reasons, but also irrelevant
"starlink bad because worky less good when obstructed" <-- too dumb for words
"i'm worried about the starlink monopoly" <-- you should be banned from the internet
This feels like a bit of an unfair dismissal. I'm using a laptop that rarely goes above 30W (and is off half off the time), so I'm not sure you can make that assumption. A 1000W power supply also doesn't mean it's using that continually - a GPU can consume >300W under load, but drop to around 10W when it's idle. Further, 100W 24/7 would add around 12-13% to my power bill (which is already above average) - it is a noticeable amount of power.
A gaming computer with a 1000 watt power supply will reastically have a 50W idle load. It's only if the CPU and GPU are fully utilized (like in a gaming scenario) that it might draw several hundreds of Watts.
I don't plan on owning it in the long run—I'm going to be giving the dish to my cousin who's on a farm with slow rural DSL once Starlink is available in her area.
Unfortunately right now Starlink's available in suburban St. Louis but not in most of the rural communities around it :P
I'm not sure if anyone believes that 42k number. They are launching ~60 satellites at a time - that would mean ~700 launches. There is no way that will be economical for the relative handful of people (500k? 1-2M?) who could realistically be interested in this.
Not to mention, the lifespan of these satellites in orbit is tiny, just a few years. They would have to be constantly launching new satellites to keep up.
The current state is probably more or less the best Starlink will ever offer - as more people will join the network, coming closer to Musk's 500k number, bandwidth will significantly diminish, even if the number of satellites is maybe doubled.
And if federal funds dry up, I expect the whole venture will quickly go bankrupt, or remain alive with a handful of satellites and a huge price spike.
They've said starship, when operational, will be able to deliver 400 starlink satellites to orbit at a time. The plan doesn't sound far fetched.
Plus, the places where Starlink is the most useful - rural areas - already have sky high costs. I just looked up what service looks like in Brazil: ~R$400/month (US$76) for 20mbps, with a 80GB data cap. When you have to buy the dish it costs over R$10k (~US$2000). This is the best you can get.
Add ground station costs, internet bandwidth, satellite production, dish production, customer service, personnel costs, R&D and you'll quickly see that the current prices are much below what is required to be profitable. Even if they have 5M customers (very hard to do in 5 years time), I wouldn't be hopeful for their prospects of not going under.
Of course, they may well survive on government handouts.
Edit to add: the bottom 45% who don't currently have access to high speed internet are unlikely to afford even a 300$ dish and an expensive data plan. The price of current plans is one of the main reasons why they don't have access in the first place.
That would make your numbers $420m every five years, or $84 million a year - slighly more than your average telecom CEO compensation.
But the goal for starship is $2m per launch. Let's assume that is bullshit and go for $10M instead, and only 300 satellites per launch. That's already down to ~$10M/year to maintain the entire constellation. Now you have room for all the other costs you mention. If they reach the stated goals, it will cost peanuts... you can see where this is going. Starship will be a ridiculous leap in launch costs if it comes to fruition.
The max capacity for the network, once at 42k satellites, is estimated to be around 50M people worldwide. Plus, you could have a downlink shared, say, among 50 people and spread the cost - 1-10mbps is still miles beyond 'no internet access'.
You might think the plan is crazy, but the math checks out.
If this whole thing works, they could charge $10/month and be in the green - the satellites themselves will be the cheapest part of the whole system. No rent, no right of way, no construction, no maintenance work, free energy and extremely low material costs.
Musk has said many things in interviews that have little to do with reality. Even if that number is true launch costs are more than the rocket itself. Even if we accepted the number, to make economic sense, they would have to get more value from 60 satellites than the $35M of profit they would make on each launch if they were launching commercialy.
> But the goal for starship is $2m per launch. Let's assume that is bullshit and go for $10M instead, and only 300 satellites per launch.
Prices for rockets similar to Starship are in the $150-200M range, so that is more the ballpark I expect from Starship, if it does fly. Perhaps it can go down to as low as 75-100M range, half the current cost of similar rockets! $10M is fantasy.
Not to mention, they are already being accused of breaking environmental regulations and other problems, so it wouldn't be surprising if launch costs actually go up if they are to maintain compliance.
Why would they even develop this new vehicle if it turns out more expensive than Falcon 9, or Falcon 9 Heavy? That would not make any sense. Plus those rockets are not reusable.
They have already achieved a reduction in price/kg by at least 10x with Falcon, see page 11 here: https://ntrs.nasa.gov/api/citations/20170009968/downloads/20...
> $10M is fantasy
$2M is the fantasy, I already added 400% to account for skepticism. Starship is not a conventional launch vehicle, it's designed for full reusability with a turnaround time measured in hours (vs the current 14-50 days for a Falcon 9 refurb), like an airplane. Land, refuel, safety checks, fly again.
They are making a bigger rocket and making it reusable. The bigger the rocket, the more expensive the launch. For Starship the price per ton should be smaller than for Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, but that doesn't mean it should be expected to be cheaper in absolute terms than much smaller rockets.
> $2M is the fantasy, I already added 400% to account for skepticism.
You're still talking about a price that would be a hundred times better per ton than any other rocket in history. Allow me to be extremely skeptical, please. Musk's arbitrary promises do not set a benchmark for me - he has been known to lie through his teeth about things like hyperloop, FSD, Neuralink, Starship earth to earth, and timelines in general.
And on the same note, what Starship is theoretically designed to do and what it will actually do when it is actually deployed may be significantly different things.
- ground station: must be negligible compared to everything else. They are literally planting giant routers out in a farm, need to pay rent, power and cabling to an exchange. Zero other infrastructure costs
- internet bandwidth: despite Netflix's attempts, ISPs have peering agreements that are usually free, as does Starlink
- satellite production: nobody knows, but they have said the payload is cheaper than the launch, so somewhere between $250-500k each at start
- customer service: online only, seems like the dish is self-diagnosing, will likely end up being much lower than traditional broadband
Fair enough, though you're neglecting the costs for building this all over the world, if they want to get access to any size of market.
> - internet bandwidth: despite Netflix's attempts, ISPs have peering agreements that are usually free, as does Starlink
Actually, according to Cloudlflare, you still need to buy a significant amount of traffic through transit agreements - cloud flare pays for 40% of its traffic in Europe (at a price they don't disclose), 60% in the USA (same price as in Europe), 40% in Asia (at 7 times the European price), 10% in Africa (at 14 times European price), 40% in South America (at 17 times European price), and 50% in Oceania (at 17 times European price). Only the Middle East region is 100% peered for them.
So the cost to actually deliver internet is definitely not going to be 0.
> - satellite production: nobody knows, but they have said the payload is cheaper than the launch, so somewhere between $250-500k each at start
So that is another 15M$ per launch at their declared aspirational cost (or an extra 100M$ per launch if you believe the Starship numbers). Just maintaing the entire constellation today would cost ~100M$/year, assuming almost all satellites reach their 5 year life span (current failure rate is 6% after one year).
> - customer service: online only, seems like the dish is self-diagnosing, will likely end up being much lower than traditional broadband
You can't sell online only customer support for access to the Internet if you want to reach any kind of realistic market. Furthermore, customer service more broadly includes delivery, sales, marketing, training materials; and this will be required all over the world, since they must target customers in remote places with little or no acces to the internet today.
Once Starlink has the satellite “mesh” operational they would probably become a tier-1 ISP and have zero transit costs. Maybe even sell traffic to other ISPs.
On the other hand, unless they somehow get the laser communication working, which is still a research problem despite their optimism, they have way too high latency to act as a tier 1 ISP - all traffic currently goes consumer - 1 satellite - ground station - Internet.
2gbps @ 100:1 oversub
1gbps @ 50:1 oversub
Apparently Musk is claiming 15M$. The public numbers for a launch are 3.3 times that, so even if that is pure profit, it's awfully good profit compared to what Starlink is bringing in.
> From next year they will likely be able to send 400 satellites for the same price with starship and the aspirational goal is to have a cost of 2M$ per launch.
This is based on Musk time - the likelihood of that happening in this time-line is not particularly good, given the track record of his promises. Time will tell.
The claimed 2M$ price is laughably 'aspirational'. Until I see it, I don't believe a word of it.
> It’s perfectly feasible, you just can’t understand how starship is such a game changer.
Let's wait for it to actually fly to space and back until we declare it such a game changer, ok? Musk's promises have a habit of never happening, or happening much later than claimed.
I can bet you anything you want that they will not have anywhere near 42k satellites in orbit in the next 10 years. Perhaps in time, over a few decades, as they spend time building up a customer base, they could reach that, assuming Starship delivers on its many promises and if the service proves popular.