Elon Musk's Starlink is Giving High-speed Internet Access to Remote Native American Tribe
File image of Elon Musk.
A remote Native American tribe in Washington is among the first to be connected to Elon Musk's Starlink space internet. The tribe is on the modern communication map after it connected to SpaceX’s constellation of satellites.
The Hoh Tribe in Washington State said Starlink’s high-speed broadband enabled remote learning and telehealth appointments during the coronavirus pandemic for the first time, The Independent reported.
“We’re very remote. The last eight years I felt like we’ve been paddling up river with a spoon and almost getting nowhere with getting internet to the reservation," vice chairman of the the tribe, Melvinjohn Ashue, was quoted as saying.
He said that Musk's SpaceX had catapulted them into 21st century. Nearly 800 Starlink satellites in low-earth orbit are currently providing internet service in parts of US and Canada. SpaceX is planning to make mark in the world of Internet and cover most of the globe with its launch of tens of thousands more satellites in the next one year.
SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell in February floated the idea of spinning Starlink off for an IPO in the coming years. SpaceX is racing to build out its Starlink satellite constellation to offer broadband internet commercially by the end of 2020.
Musk, earlier in his tweet, said he is a “huge fan” of small retail investors and will ensure they get top priority.
"Once these satellites reach their target position, we will be able to roll out a fairly wide public beta in the northern US and hopefully southern Canada," SpaceX CEO Elon Musk had said earlier.
"Other countries to follow as soon as we receive regulatory approval".
Starlink plans to offer these Internet services for around $80 per month, which is priced at par if not lower than similar speed broadband plans in most countries, including India. With the latest launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday, SpaceX has launched 775 Linux-powered Starlink satellites to date.
Starlink has been running a private beta since July in parts of the northern US and while it has had coverage of southern Canada, services there are pending regulatory approval, according to reports.
However, the private beta was largely limited to SpaceX employees, according to TechCrunch.
Starlink satellites orbit Earth at an altitude of about 500 kms, far closer to Earth than traditional conventional satellite broadband services.
SpaceX recently presented the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Starlink internet performance tests showing it was capable of download speeds of between 102Mbps to 103Mbps, upload speeds of 40.5Mbps to not quite 42Mbps, and a latency of 18 milliseconds to 19 milliseconds.