SpaceX satellites for a global Internet
Since their filing for an FCC license to become a satellite ISP, SpaceX has become a topic of hot speculation. According to this application filed in November 2016, the company expressed their intent to become a global ISP. With the intent of eventually launching 4225 satellites worldwide, the company wants to start off with about 800 satellites. According to the publication in November, each satellite would weigh in at about 850 lbs, and will be about 110 miles spaced apart from each other. The promised speed is 1 GB/s per user. Needless to say, this is an incredible promise. However this could be more than a promise.
The end game for SpaceX is to expand to the global market, where there is potentially up to 4.2 billion users who are completely offline. The idea is to grow organically withing the continental United States, and Europe. As the demand for data grows, infrastructure is increasingly sought out by governments. This poses an operational problem to companies that want to create their own ISPs.
The cool part of their petition to the FCC and the ITU (International Telecommunication Union), is that the satellite array is going to provide uniform service ubiquitously. There is going to be identical services available to anyone in range. In recent months, the company has referred to Internet access as a “right”, and feel that most people on Earth deserve high speed Internet access. While this may be a noble dream, it remains to be seen how serious they are with the promise.