Satellite Internet Connectivity
The ubiquity of the Internet has lead to a new space race, where low orbit satellites will beam the Internet to earth. Companies are planning to connect phones in consumers pockets directly to global satellite networks.
Global Internet Access
Satellites based internet increases global coverage
Connections no longer bound by geo-location
Starlink Beta Testing
Low orbit satellite services are already available via Starlink, an Elon Musk venture, with them aiming for 50Mb/s to 150Mb/s download and latency from 20ms to 40ms. Starlink currently have 1,385 satellites in the sky and currently offer a beta service. The last sixty satellites were transported using a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
OneWeb 146/648 satellites launched
Recently, OneWeb turned on their network to show the US Government and with a reported 500Mb/s with 32ms latency, OneWeb, as of writing, have 146 satellites in the sky with their full LEO constellation being made up of 648 satellites. By the end of the year, they plan to offer services to UK, Europe, Greenland, Canada and Alaska, after three more satellite launches.
Telesat Introduce Lightspeed
There are other big investments in satellite communications, with Telesat planning to put 298 satellites in low orbit at the cost of about $5bn by 2023. The Lightspeed constellation aims to connect cruise ships, airlines, and rural communities. As a company Telesat have over 50 years of experience in the telecommunications industry and deploying telecom’s infrastructure
Omnispace 5G via Satellite
Satellites are the next step in a global 5G rollout. Omnispace aim to make every phone a satellite phone and have just started a strategic partnership with Lockheed Martins space division. Currently they are about to enter a proof of concept phase, with an emphasis on efficient affordability, with a full satellite deployment in the range of $5-10bn.
Another company entering the 5G from space race is AST, which have announced they aim to “allow any phone — without any modification of hardware, software, apps to be able to connect directly to satellites”. AST’s next launch will be towards the end of 2021 with the $48m BlueWalker 3. The company is aiming for 20 satellites in operation by the end of 2022.
Low Orbit Satellite Networks
In the next five years earth is on target to have multiple low orbit satellite systems in place, I would argue that this is an integral part of the 5G rollout, where we will see superfast low latency connections becoming the standard globally by 2025.