While wireless broadband providers race to close the digital divide and service more hard-to-reach areas, they may face a new competitor — satellite-delivered broadband internet. Launch services provider SpaceX plans to deploy more than 4,000 non-geostationary satellites in a low orbit within five years to deliver affordable broadband service; the company, founded in 2002, by entrepreneur Elon Musk who remains CEO, hopes to begin testing a satellite by the end of the year and launching a prototype next year.
“Satellites will substantially alter access and competition,” SpaceX VP of Satellite Government Affairs Patricia Cooper told members of the Senate Commerce Committee at a broadband infrastructure hearing this week. “Our plan is to build fiber-like services at much lower cost.”
The incremental cost of adding a rural customer to a satellite network
is much lower than adding that rural customer to a ground-based cellular
network, she testified. Continue Reading