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Elon Musk and SpaceX launch Starlink satellite broadband amid pandemic

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Elon Musk and SpaceX launch Starlink satellite broadband amid pandemic

In vast swaths of the United States and the world, there are millions of people who don’t have reliable internet access. These unconnected people aren’t just in far-flung places like rural America or New Zealand or sub-Saharan Africa, either. There are plenty of people living in dense city centers who struggle to access affordable broadband.…

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Ethelyn Bryehttp://cyanosaur.com
Ethelyn Brye is an award-winning author and blogger. Growing up in Switzerland and influenced by renowned Swiss design and a lot of fresh mountain air, she attended and completed design studies in Geneva. Post graduation she moved to Washington State to work for a design firm, but her love of writing brought her to Cyanosaur. She's highly interested in strategy rpgs, mountain climbing, board games with friends and skiing. She lives in Seattle, Washington, with her lovely cat Armstrong.

In vast swaths of the United States and the world, there are millions of people who don’t have reliable internet access. These unconnected people aren’t just in far-flung places like rural America or New Zealand or sub-Saharan Africa, either. There are plenty of people living in dense city centers who struggle to access affordable broadband. The pandemic has brought new urgency to the problem, and while companies like Google and Facebook have floated far-out ideas for solving this problem, the internet technology that’s most promising is also the one that’s already proven: satellite broadband. In early March, just days before cities across the United States shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Elon Musk shared the latest details about his plan to build a satellite broadband service called Starlink. Speaking to an audience at a satellite conference in Washington, DC, Musk described how a constellation of Starlink satellites will “blink” when they enter low-Earth orbit. As described, they almost sound like streaks of glitter in the night sky, or magic bands of flying gadgets that can beam internet down to anyone on the planet. Combined with improvements to existing technology like DSL, cable, and fiber — not to mention 4G and 5G cellular networks — futuristic satellite broadband stands to bridge the digital divide in the US and elsewhere. And because the pandemic has prompted explosive demand for better, more widely available internet connectivity, fast progress seems more inevitable than ever. Musk’s new satellites went online in early September, giving beta testers download speeds that rival those of terrestrial broadband. SpaceX has now put 700 Starlink satellites into orbit in the past 16 months and has plans to deliver as many as 30,000 more in the next few years. More satellites mean more bandwidth and faster speeds, and eventually, SpaceX says its low-Earth orbit satellite constellations could deliver high-speed internet to the entire US. Amazon, Facebook, and several startups have made similar promises in recent years. The concept of satellite-based internet service is actually decades old. However, the innovative low-Earth orbit satellite technology being developed by SpaceX and others could be essential, if not transformative, for everything from telemedicine to remote learning in places that aren’t already connected. Satellite broadband could also be very profitable for whichever company figures it out first. One could imagine Amazon using satellite broadband to boost its Amazon Web Services (AWS) business, or Facebook using it to ensure that more people get online and look at Facebook. And if Musk gets his way, his Starlink constellations will generate billions of dollars in profits to fund his mission to colonize Mars. This all sounds futuristic, but satellite broadband is already a very real thing. In fact, if you’ve ever connected to the wifi on a plane or cruise ship, you’ve probably used it. The basic idea is that ground stations connected to the internet, known as gateways, can send data up to a satellite which then relays that data to antennas somewhere else on the ground
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Hands-on with the Hyper GaN Stackable USB-C charger [Video]

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