By Jon Dougherty
(NationalSentinel) If you’re like most Americans, the Internet of Things has become a double-edged sword, making life much more convenient while at the same time jacking up prices for month Internet service that is, in many cases, interruption prone and sketchy.
Well, that may all be about to change.
Low-earth orbit satellite Internet broadband is closer to becoming a reality thanks to investments by Elon Musk of SpaceX and Amazon chief Jeff Bezos.
Recently, Amazon chief Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin pulled back the curtain on its space intentions by announcing Project Kuiper, a 3,236-satellite constellation. Additionally, Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starlink recently launched a rocket containing 60 satellites from Florida’s Cape Canaveral.
The fight for space internet supremacy is on. Both players, alongside others like OneWeb, are spending billions in space in hopes of making further billions annually once the satellites go into service for consumers in the US and around the globe.
SpaceX will initially launch service to North America, but once its full array is in place, the company has plans to roll the service out across the entire planet. Ostensibly, anywhere with access to open skies could be covered. Amazon has global aspirations for its project as well.
The constellations, once in place, have the ability to save consumers in the United States along tens of billions of dollars per year, and at a time when even more consumer products from home reference devices to TVs to appliances are becoming part of the IoT.
One analysis claims the LEO satellite Internet constellations will save consumers as much as $30 billion per year, TNW reported.
While there is already satellite-fed Internet, the tech web site describes how low-earth orbit changes the dynamic greatly:
LEO satellites orbit extremely close to Earth, between 99 to 1200 miles (160-19,300 km) — versus 22,000 miles (35,400 km) of traditional GEO satellites — which means less time to transfer information (lower latency) and a quality of service comparable to wired cable and fiber broadband providers. The arrays will be precisely mapped into massive constellations to maximize coverage.
LEO technology will offer robust internet access to underserved and rural communities lacking wired, low-latency broadband options. The arrival of this technology is likely to drive down monthly internet prices for hundreds-of-millions of Americans.
What makes this solution viable is that it’s decidedly free market.
“Americans with access to multiple broadband-level options for internet service tend to pay lower prices on average than those who have just one option in their area,” TNW notes.
“According to further analysis of our market-wide pricing database covering plans and pricing from more than 2,000 ISPs, the average “lowest available monthly price” for the estimated 104 million Americans with only one wired broadband provider is $68. For the 75 million Americans with two choices, that average lowest price drops to $59. For the lucky 15 million Americans with five or more choices, it’s $47.”
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