How Elon Musk’s Starlink Can Change the World

Written by Sakshi Agarwal (Weloquent)

How often do you blame “the towers” near your residence for poor internet connection? Or have you travelled to the outskirts of your city only to find yourself disconnected from internet data and hence, unable to work on homework, or connect with family and friends?

Well, hold your breath, because things are about to change.

The Starlink: one of Musk’s lesser known ventures hopes to create a global “communication constellation” to bring together a splintered world. With the help of 42,000+ satellites, they aim to provide seamless and strong internet connection to all parts of Earth.

  1.  It Transcends Political Borders

In a world that is divided by politicians, Starlink's globally connected internet community is a breath of fresh air since it does not rely on government regulations. 

For instance, The Great Firewall of China curtails the streaming of channels such as YouTube and access to Google to control what its citizens view. Similarly, recently, the Indian government also blocked off internet access in certain areas in order to prevent civil-unrest. However, in both cases the consequences are severe and prevents citizens from conducting businesses online, and educating themselves freely.

The installation of Starlink would change this. Being a privately operated service it would enable dissemination of knowledge to all those seeking it, without the walls of governance. With an incredibly simple installation process, the internet communication constellation will allow users to access a global internet that is above government censorship.

  1. It Will Make the World a Safer Place

Musk’s internet is a consortium of cloud-delivered networks that can easily be set up anywhere in the world. It constitutes a simple device that requires a clear view of the sky, a socket, and an antenna that must point upwards. Since it has such basic requirements - its use is predicted to be as widely available as television sets.  It aims to provide 150 Mbps of internet speed that will work in almost every part of the world, unting remote corners that have struggled to connect with the wider global community.

We may not have to rely on independent data service providers, or lose connection while traveling out into the wilderness. Such easy access to strong internet will help us set up cameras to track and prevent crimes, will increase connectivity to report crimes, and most importantly will enhance education standards to spread awareness and knowledge against crime.

  1. It Provides Consistent, Seamless, and Strong Internet Access 

The effectiveness of Starlink rests on 2 key factors. 

  1. The positioning of the satellites. They are placed at only 30 miles above the Earth’s surface, making them around 60 times closer to the surface than other satellites that have been sent out for this purpose. The significance of this move is reflected in the drop of the latency [i.e. the time that is taken to send data from one point to another]. A high latency results in low internet connectivity and low speed internet sharing, thus causing lags in video calling and online gaming platforms.

  2. Secondly, the high number of satellites will ensure a global reach without having to face internet service dropouts and a stable internet cover in the remotest of regions. 

So far, over 1,700 satellites have been sent into space, making this one of the most ambitious undertakings by an organisation. Beta testing for around 12 countries has been made available. Since India has received invitations to pre-reserve the service, we anticipate that it will be launched in the country by 2022. Starlink thus hopes to become a pioneer in breaking down barriers to accessibility and global information sharing. 

First announced in 2015, Starlink’s journey is an example of how far our vision can guide us, and the kind of impact that each one of us has the potential to create.