Starlink consumer services – TTG

I found an interview with SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell done last October in which she revealed much about Starlink as a consumer business. SpaceX has been testing Starlink on an Air Force contract for the last year and has demonstrated a data throughput of 610 megabits per second (Mbps). That’s easily fast enough for streaming movies. For comparison, Verizon FIOS offers three levels of throughput: 100 Mbps, 300 Mbps and 1 gigabit per second. The 100 Mbps is plenty for the average household. Shotwell said the average household pays $80 per month for crappy service. The FIOS 300 Mbps service costs $60 per month. This gives an idea of what Starlink will cost.

SpaceX will be hiring a new workforce to handle sales, tech support and production engineering. It will be modeled on Tesla. In addition to the consumer facing part of the business, Starlink will be supported by a network of ground stations. 

You sign up for service online, be it on a monthly or yearly contract much like purchasing current internet services or purchasing a Tesla. You will then receive your “UFO on a stick” by mail, Fedex or UPS to mount at home probably much like current SAT TV antennas. Perhaps online sales will be augmented by kiosks or small storefronts where you can take your UFO on a stick home with you. I can also see SpaceX installers or independent contractor installers to keep old people like me from having to climb out on our roofs while SWMBO yells at us about falling and killing ourselves. How this all works overseas will depend on what SpaceX negotiates with national telecommunication ministries.

If Starlink can maintain a competitive price, cable companies, SAT TV companies and even Verizon FIOS could be in for a world of hurt. The increased worldwide bandwidth will only help content providers by broadening the market for their content. In that interview from last October, Shotwell talked about beginning consumer subscription services by the end of 2020.

If Musk can develop and market a smartphone like device that doesn’t require the UFO on a stick base station, he could capture a large part of the worldwide consumer telecommunications market. That could possibly be done through the existing partnership between SpaceX and Iridium. Iridium uses SpaceX exclusively to launch its satellites and already offers direct internet service through its current satellite phones. I think it would be a smart move for both SpaceX and Iridium. This could all happen relatively quickly.

TTG  (a patent related to the UFO on a stick?)

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