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article imageSpaceX advances plan to build a global wireless Internet network

By Tim Sandle     Nov 17, 2018 in Technology
SpaceX's mission to construct a global, high-speed wireless internet network using satellites has edged closer to realization. The company's is to place in orbit over 7,000 satellites for its Starlink network.
Permission for SpaceX to increase its numbers of very-low-Earth orbit satellites was approved by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC). This follows on from the agency allowing SpaceX in March 2018 to launch 4,425 satellites. In November 2018, the FCC approved the requests of four companies—Space Exploration Holdings, LLC (SpaceX), Kepler Communications, Inc. (Kepler), Telesat Canada (Telesat), and LeoSat MA, Inc. (LeoSat)—to launch satellites.
The new satellites will join the existing satellites in forming the Starlink network. The aim with the network is to develop a low-cost, high-performance satellite bus and requisite customer ground transceivers to implement a new space-based Internet communication system. This forms part of Elon Musk's ambition to provide broadband internet access to the world.
Musk has said: "It would be like rebuilding the Internet in space. The goal would be to have a majority of long-distance Internet traffic go over this network."
With the new satellites, the first set are scheduled to be launched in June of 2019, with the full constellation being deployed by the mid-2020s.
According to Mark Handley at University College London, the final realization of the project will see something that is less orientated to the world's population but instead offers a service that will be more appealing to high-frequency traders at big banks, who might be willing to fork out large sums for dedicated, faster connections. The academic states that paying customers will be critical, given the exorbitant costs of the project.
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