Starlink’s New Deal Just Threatened An Entire Industry
The revolutionary global internet service just became far more useful.
Elon Musk has a habit of reinventing an industry and, in the process, nearly wiping out the competition. Take PayPal, for example. Once it came onto the scene, virtually no one used cheques anymore. Then there is Tesla. Not only is it revolutionising the auto industry, it is also making oil companies rethink their business plans. Even SpaceX’s upcoming Starship could dominate the long-haul flight market with its insanely short flight times. As it turns out, Musk’s revolutionary satellite internet, Starlink, has just signed a deal that means it too can pull off this same trick. Except this time, it is coming after one of the most lucrative industries in the world: telecommunications. So what is this deal? Could Starlink dominate the mobile world? And how will this affect SpaceX?
Firstly, we need a quick recap of what Starlink is. Starlink is a satellite constellation that provides near-global internet coverage. This means that there are thousands of interconnected Starlink satellites, which is to say that there is always at least one above you at any given time. In theory, connecting to this satellite via a small satellite dish and using its internet should provide a high-speed internet anywhere in the world. So when you use Starlink internet, it doesn’t matter if you are in Manhattan, on top of Mount Everest, in the middle of the Pacific, or trapped in a war zone. You can still get high-speed internet.
But Starlink has a bit of a dual purpose. As you can imagine, this service could be incredibly profitable. But these profits won’t just be pocketed. They will pay for SpaceX to build a massive fleet of Starships and then execute a self-funded crewed Mars mission.
However, Starlink hasn’t been doing so well recently. Firstly, it has had to fend off Dish from using its signal spectrum and disrupting services (read more here), and the FCC has pulled nearly a billion dollars of funding from Starlink due to high costs and low internet speeds (read more here). To top it off, Starlink’s Gen 2 satellites, which are needed to complete the constellation, have been delayed and probably won’t launch until later next year at the earliest. All of these…