Billionaire Elon Musk claimed that by August, an internet connection from anywhere except the poles should be provided by his Starlink satellite-internet system.
His comments coincided with the announcement of Starlink’s rival OneWeb securing the funding that it deems would be required for completion of its first-generation constellation of 648 satellites.
Small satellite receivers called Dishy McFlatFace are to be used by Starlink customers to connect to the internet and would be priced at $500.
However the terminals cost more than $1,000, said Musk.
Musk said that Starlink “has passed the strategically notable number of 69,420 active users” while appearing remotely at Mobile World Congress, which this year is being held both physically in Barcelona as well as online.
Musk hoped that Starlink would have 500,000 users within 12 months.
Musk also said that the company had two partnerships with “major country” telecommunications companies.
Telecom companies were also helped by Starlink to meet their 5G licence conditions which mandate that the companies supply internet coverage to customers in rural areas as well.
Till date, more than 1,800 satellites have been launched into orbit by Space X and the company now is hopeful of having 12,000 satellites in lower earth orbit by 2026.
Musk said that the total solar power of the satellites generated 5MW of electricity.
Starlink was granted a license to operate in the United Kingdom in November last year and the company had started a trial of its services in the country in January this year.
Starlink rival OneWeb, which is partly owned by UK taxpayers, currently has successfully launched 218 satellites in low Earth orbit and the company is slated to launch another 36 more on Thursday. Covering latitudes above 50 degrees north, the company is expected ot soon be able to offer commercial internet services. A deal for exploring ways to provide broadband internet to people in the remote areas of the UK and at sea was inked between OneWeb and BT earlier this month.
To provide broadband access to remote areas, as part of its Project Kuiper, a constellation of low Earth-orbit satellites is planned to be launched by Amazon too.
Astronomers have raised concerns about the light pollution and other interference cased by these constellations of low Earth-orbit satellites.
(Adapted from BBC.com)