zoom in on Elon Musk’s successor to ADSL

In its Internet space offering, SpaceX wants to offer the white areas a connection with a speed of up to 150 megabits per second and a latency of less than 20 ms, including at sea.

Starlink is the space internet project of billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk. Operated by commercial aerospace company SpaceX, Starlink aims to provide high-speed internet connectivity around the world through a constellation of 42,000 satellites in low orbit by 2027. Launches are taking place gradually. In February 2018, two prototype satellites were launched and since then the satellites have been orbiting in batches of sixty. More than 3,000 satellites are deployed 550 kilometers above Earth. In this project announced in 2015, Elon Musk aims to mesh the sky to offer fast Internet access (up to 1Gb/s) at low latency (less than 20m/s), specifically in digital deserts. With its satellite Internet offering, Starlink has to face competition from Kuiper, Jeff Bezos’ upcoming project, and its 3,200 satellites. The founder of Amazon is not the only competitor: the English OneWeb project has already been launched and Facebook has also announced its ambition in this area.

In France, Starlink got the green light again as of June 2, 2022. Arcep was able to provide two frequency bands to Starlink to connect its satellites and its French end users. Arcep has launched a public consultation to give this green light, and to provide a solution to around 6,500 subscribers in France, who have subscribed to the offer, which will be available from May 2021.

To access it, interested parties must register for the service on the Starlink site, indicate their address (which cannot be changed) and order a small dish with a tripod to be installed in their home in a open area

The quality of reception depends on the relay stations. Only one installation has so far been authorized in France at Villenave d’Ornon, in the Gironde. In France, three sites were originally intended to host satellite broadband Internet access service stations. Elon Musk’s project provides for the installation of nine antennas in Saint-Senier-de-Beuvron (Manche), as well as in Gravelines (North), to provide its spatial connection. Arcep confirmed their abandonment.

To connect to the Starlink network, the user must obtain the installation kit. The latter contains the modem, the router and the dish and is sold for 634 euros. The subscription price, originally 99 euros per month, was reduced on August 3, 2022 to 50 euros per month with free delivery costs. It is now possible to try Starlink for 30 days and return the Starlink kit for a full hardware refund if you are not satisfied.

In North America, users will no longer exceed 1TB of data uploaded per month. To exceed this limit, users have to pay $0.25 per GB of data, or $250 for an additional 1TB.

SpaceX promises a speed of between 50 and 150 megabits per second, which is more than the 30 Mbits / s threshold required to move to the very fast category in France.

In France, the media Les Numériques carried out “19 tests over three days at different times of the day that resulted in a speed of approximately 184 Mb / s in the downlink speed”.

SpaceX added Swarm to its Starlink site, officially launching the service for Internet of Things connectivity in November 2022, for $5 per month. SpaceX acquired Swarm, and its constellation of 120 miniature satellites, in August 2021.

There are more than 2,000 Starlink satellites deployed in orbit 550 kilometers above Earth. SpaceX said on January 6, 2022 that its Starlink satellite internet service has more than 700,000 customers in 36 countries around the world. Elon Musk’s company said Starlink user growth has slowed as silicon shortages have delayed production and affected orders.

Each Starlink satellite weighs only 260 kilograms. Their flat shape makes it possible to fit 60 of them inside one of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets to put them into orbit. Each satellite includes a solar panel for its power, four antennas for Internet transmissions, lasers that connect them to four other satellites in orbit, and ion thrusters that use krypton gas to maintain them in orbit.

To connect to the ground network, the Starlink network requires ground relay stations. Equipped with electric domes and large antennas, they will rely in France on the frequency bands of 10.95-12.70 GHz to transmit a signal from space to Earth and 14-14.5 GHz to make the reverse path from the terminals of user.

Users should have a kit that includes a dish, a tripod to fix it and a router for data processing and connection sharing. This Starlink kit is sold at a price of 499 euros.

Elon Musk wants to show the interest of the space Internet in the maritime sector. The offer, called Starlink Maritime, provides access for $5,000 per month to the Internet from the sea with a speed of up to 350 Mbit/s. “From merchant ships to oil rigs to high-end yachts, Starlink Maritime lets you connect from the world’s most distant waters, just as you would at the office or at home,” the company says on the site this. To benefit from the offer, in addition to the subscription, it will be necessary to pay an additional 10,000 dollars for the purchase of two antennas that receive the signal.

Note to novice astronomers, satellites are visible to the naked eye in the sky at certain times. The Find Starlink site allows you to consult the moments of visibility of satellites according to its position. During the launches, it is also possible to see a succession of small bright points forming a long white trail.

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