SpaceX, which is helmed by billionaire Elon Musk, plans to deploy its satellite internet service, Starlink, in India in 2022. The website of the aerospace company lists many Indian locales where the services will be accessible on a first-come, first-served basis. Indian users can pre-book Starlink services on the website for $99 (about Rs 7,265).
Starlink is a constellation of small internet satellites that orbit closer to the earth’s surface (at an altitude of 550 kilometres) than large navigation and communication satellites that operate between 2,000 and 35,000 kilometres in medium earth orbit or beyond 35,000 kilometres in geosynchronous orbit.
Starlink and other comparable satellites perform better in terms of latency and interference due to their greater proximity to the earth’s surface, resulting in improved internet services.
Existing satellite broadband services, according to reports, have median latencies ranging from 594 to 612 milliseconds. Starlink, according to SpaceX, will cut latency by 20 to 40 milliseconds. Starkink’s internet services are now under beta testing in the United States, with data speeds of up to 150Mbps guaranteed. The Starlink kit, which contains a user terminal, router, and mounting tripod for connecting to satellites, is required to access the services.
With the launch of more satellites, the installation of more ground stations, and the upgrade of networking software, SpaceX believes that data speed, latency, and uptime will improve even more.
The corporation expects to launch 12,000 Starlink satellites, with over 1,000 already in orbit.
Satellite internet has a lot of potential in India since it can overcome geographical boundaries and provide internet connectivity to even the most remote locations where on-ground cell tower coverage is difficult. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), half of Indians will lack internet connectivity by August 2020.
Only 14% of the population in the United States is without access to the internet. According to the World Economic Forum, India is one of the fastest-growing markets in terms of new internet adoption, with the number of internet users increasing by 23% between 2019 and 2020.
SpaceX isn’t the only company eyeing the Indian market for satellite internet. Hughes India, a Hughes Network Systems subsidiary, recently partnered with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to bring internet to 5,000 distant villages in Eastern Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Tripura, and Manipur. GSAT-19 and GSAT-11, communications satellites of the Indian space agency, will be used by the corporation.
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