“Next step: 1 gigabit internet speeds.” Starlink rising. by Motley Fool


So far, results show that Starlink users can expect internet download speeds of anywhere from 11 megabits per second (Mbps) to 60 Mbps, and upload speeds of 5 Mbps to 18 Mbps. At best, those numbers are just 6% of the 1 gig (1 Gbps) speeds the FCC wants to be able to promise under RDOF. But considering that Starlink is still only 80% of the way to having enough sats for "moderate" capability, it's still impressive. (And as Ars notes, even 60 Mbps is much faster internet than many rural customers are able to access today.)

Perhaps more importantly, SpaceX and Starlink seem to have cleared the FCC's bar for competing in the RDOF contest. If you recall, the FCC was skeptical of SpaceX's ability to provide sub-100 lag speeds from space, and promised to apply "very close scrutiny" to SpaceX's performance. Ars, however, says Starlink is delivering ping rates of anywhere from 94 ms (already below 100) all the way down to just 31 ms.

What comes next

As far as qualifying to compete for RDOF and the FCC's $16 billion, this looks very much like "mission accomplished" for SpaceX. Going forward, the company will be aiming to drive its lag rate down below 20 ms, while boosting its internet download speed toward 1 Gbps. And over time, SpaceX hopes that these levels of performance will win it as many as 5 million broadband satellite internet customers in the U.S. At a rumored monthly service cost of $80, times 12 months in a year, Starlink therefore looks to be building toward a $4.8 billion annual revenue stream for SpaceX. 

What does it all mean for SpaceX?

When you consider that it would take SpaceX launching nearly 80 rockets a year at a launch cost of $62 million apiece to generate similar revenue from space launch, it's easy to see how Starlink could soon become SpaceX's primary revenue driver — and a great candidate for an IPO


RDOF is the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.  It is a 16 billion dollar slush fund that the FCC has for development of high quality rural internet service.  It looks like Musk is going to make all the check points wanted by the FCC for access to a lot of that money.  
4.8 billion annually.  That is the engine with which Musk intends to fund his voyages to Mars.
This entry was posted in Science, Space. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to “Next step: 1 gigabit internet speeds.” Starlink rising. by Motley Fool

  1. JohnH says:

    Has anyone seen power requirements for the modem, receiver, and transmitter?
    If the system’s power requirements are modest enough for solar power, those of us living with the threat of the Big One would love to subscribe and be able to communicate in the aftermath.
    IOW the market is much bigger than just rural America.

  2. Tom says:

    The link budgets for various data rates are known by SpaceX and the FCC. Latency is dictated by distance and processing power. They know within a small error what is needed for transmit power and antenna size on both ends of the link to achieve specific data rates. I’m not getting the intrigue…

  3. walrus says:

    Power required is no more than 70 watts peak and average 34 watts – add your wifi router (about 30W)as well. This is about what my satellite link draws right now.

  4. sbin says:

    When starlink capabilities are integrated with Tesla products it will provide some interesting synergy.
    Various 5g point to point products are very interesting.
    Gigabit speed for last mile where fiber is to expensive.

  5. Leith says:

    It appears the Russians going after Elon Musk. At least one Russian anyway. Elon Musk says a serious Russian malware attack was attempted against Tesla. The perp Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov was arrested.
    On the surface it looks like a ransomware attack. But since the Russian mafia has been a deniable arm of the state security apparatus there is a lot of suspicion that one of Russia’s security services is involved. Maybe because over the next five years Musk’s Falcon rockets are going to phase out the use of the Russian made RD-180 rocket engine used in the Atlas rocket? SpaceX security is much higher than at Tesla, thus much harder to target. So if they couldn’t hit the SpaceX target directly maybe they could damage their other assets.

Comments are closed.