Mega-Constellations Of Satellites: A Turning Point For The Internet Of Tomorrow?
1 million new Internet users are registered every day. Businesses and the general public demand better and more efficient connections. Increasingly effective communication technologies are being developed and implemented to meet the growing needs of Internet users and their needs.
Although unknown to the general public, satellite internet has been accessible since the 1990s. The device has kept its limits despite the advent of far more efficient technologies like 4G/5G or fiber optics. Not only is the implementation cost significantly high, the satellite constellation project does not provide the expected performance today. The latency of data transmission over the Internet, or hundreds of milliseconds of “latency” and low throughput, eliminated the possibility of meeting the current needs of the general public and businesses.
Starlink, OneWeb, Kuiper Systems: Satellite Internet Inventory
Currently, the three projects of the satellite constellation are distinguished by size and ambition. Developed by billionaires Gregory Wyler (O3b), Elon Musk (Tesla and Space X) and Jeff Bezos (Amazon) respectively, OneWeb, Starlink and Kuiper Systems are the upcoming satellite constellations. Once activated, they can have between 650 and 12,000 satellites per project, making the 2,000 operating satellites currently in Earth’s orbit red.
High speed satellite broadband in 2021
Not all mega constellation projects are on the same level of development. OneWeb started launching in February, and we’re planning once a month until the constellation goes live in 2021. Starlink is the first to launch a cluster of 60 “test satellites” in May, making a leap forward and catching up with OneWeb. Falcon 9 Rocket. However, the Kuiper System was late and just submitted the file to the FCC, the US telecommunications regulator.
Targeting institutional clients to support investment efforts
Even for Kuiper Systems, the world’s richest-supported project, setting up these constellations requires an overwhelming pharaonic cost. So, OneWeb doubled its table trick to raise more than $3 billion from investors like Qualcomm, Virgin Group or Coca-Cola. Like future competitors, Starlink has also raised funds, but it is expected to take $10 billion to complete the position. Paltry investment compared to $30 billion in annual sales that Starlink believes it can generate across its aggregate.
Promising approach, but challenging financial and technical viability
In the 1990s, Iridium went bankrupt by launching a constellation dedicated to satellite phones. This is not the only example of failure, and while the project is moving rapidly, the proliferation of technologies such as fiber optics and 5G is fast. We deserve to ask ourselves if satellites will be able to establish a position in a highly competitive market.
Hence, many questions arise, including the financial viability of these projects. The investments required to set up these agglomerations are enormous, and despite the growing demand for connectivity, it’s unclear whether players will be able to achieve the expected profitability. Even more worrisome, Elon Musk is resorting to spacecraft that hasn’t been flying, but still runs the constellation using unproven and reliable technology. Other issues are at the center of the debate, such as an increase in space debris or light pollution in the night sky that could be caused by the project.