Elon musk’s spacex eyeing satellite internet service
03 de Enero, 2019
Tiempo estimado de lectura: 4 minutos
The company is looking to launch a massive network of satellites into orbit to provide internet service for devices on the ground, which would offer companies and consumers an alternative to cellular
Elon Musk-helmed aerospace company SpaceX is raising $500 million at a $30.5 billion valuation to fund a satellite-based internet service, reports The Wall Street Journal. And while SpaceX hasn’t divulged which industries it’d target with this service, it could potentially fill a need in the IoT that would provide the company with a sizable revenue stream.
SpaceX is looking to get its Starlink internet service off the ground with the new capital. The company’s planned satellite-based communication network would require a web of thousands of satellites to be able to blanket the planet in wireless coverage. So far, it’s received US government approval for more than 11,000 satellites in total. The company launched two test units into orbit in February to begin evaluating how its service would fare and what the company would need to do scale its operations. A new round of funding will enable the company to ramp up testing and potentially move into the early commercial deployment, though it would likely require an additional injection of capital — beyond this $500 million — to get those satellites into orbit.
The Starlink satellite-based internet service could be a huge boon for the IoT if SpaceX chooses to include low-power services in its network. A number of companies have announced plans to test and potentially deploy commercial satellite networks geared specifically toward IoT use cases, including Iridium, Astrocast, and Ligado.
These companies are looking to the spacefaring networks to serve IoT devices because they are a viable alternative to cellular-based communications and typically operate on different wavelengths, due to the distances that signals have to travel. They can also provide superior coverage since they don’t require fixed access points in the way that a cellular-based network does — meaning remote areas are no issue and that companies can use a single network globally.
However, satellite networks generally have higher initial expenses, and thus higher customer costs, which can limit their value. With SpaceX’s new funding, investor relationships, and revenue from its rocketry business, the company could potentially get over the hump of initial investment required to get satellites into orbit. If successful, SpaceX would likely have an ample market waiting for it, given the projected explosion in cellular IoT connections in the coming years.
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