Internet satellite systems to put the whole world online
Can you imagine life without the internet? For most of us, that’s something we simply cannot grasp. Our modern world now depends so much on technology. But then, most of this technology wouldn’t be of much use without the internet. This is partly why Internet Service Providers (ISPs) constantly look for ways to improve their internet. In this post, we’ll be looking at the advent of internet satellite systems. It’s certainly not a big thing yet but will affect us all in the future. Therefore, it’s certainly worth talking about. To start with, we’ll look at the whole scheme and the objectives behind it. In addition to that, you’ll also learn some of the key players behind this innovation. Then, in the end, we’ll discuss possible strengths and weaknesses. If that sounds interesting, let’s get straight to it!
Providing global internet access
Some major tech giants are in a race to start providing global internet satellite systems. Now, most people in the world can easily get onto the internet. It’s something that many of us take for granted because it’s always available. However, there are still millions that don’t have broadband internet access. Yes, millions of people that can’t still access the world wide web! In order to solve this, certain tech companies are building internet satellite systems. This basically consists of massive low-orbit satellite networks. These satellites will then provide high-speed broadband internet on a global scale.
Elon Musk’s Space X company hopes to launch about 12,000 satellites into orbit. In fact, they’re going to start launching this year. However, they’ll need a couple hundred satellites in orbit before they go ‘live.’ Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook company is also working on its own satellite system. Now guess who else is playing the game too? Amazon! Yes, Amazon wants to expand its range of services even further. More specifically, they want to become a global ISP. Amazon wants to put more than 3,200 satellites in low-earth orbit. In order to get good coverage, the satellites will be at various altitudes. As a result, they’ll be able to provide services to about 95% of the world’s population.
For this to work, Amazon will need a network of stations on here Earth. These terrestrial stations will serve as a point of contact with the satellites. To that end, Amazon has already created a cloud service to enable communication with satellites to take place. Now, Amazon hasn’t yet revealed when it will start launching satellites. In the meantime, they’re in the process of seeking approval from various worldwide regulatory agencies.
Impacts of global internet systems
The first and most obvious benefit here is internet provision to less developed parts of the world. Some countries simply don’t have the infrastructures in place for broadband internet. Therefore, this scheme would make the internet accessible to everyone. Once again, just imagine having no internet for a week. It would seem like torture because you’re so used to having it around. But for some people, that’s exactly how they live their lives. In some ways, they are effectively disconnected from the world. Well, at least in a digital sense. This would also allow such people to know what’s happening around the globe. Imagine hurricanes, natural disasters, big political events, sports activities etc.
On the flip side, it would make it possible to contact such people more easily. The people doing this could be distant relatives, travellers or international delegates. When online, one thing that seriously affects user experience is network speed. Let’s be honest here, no one likes slow internet. Even if they have all the time available, it’s still a nuisance. Luckily, the broadband that these internet satellite systems will provide is much, much faster. This is the second big advantage: faster internet for all.
Faster internet will make the web more enjoyable for everyone. Search engines will also favour it too for all the sites they rank. Now, the third advantage here is construction costs. As you can image, any big-scale project like this isn’t cheap. It will cost at least several millions, if not billions. But I guess that’s no problem for Jeff Bezos anyway… Now, these satellites will cost less than £1 million each. Amazon hasn’t yet revealed how it will launch its satellites. Nevertheless, the costs are quite reasonable anyway. This, in turn, will make it more straightforward to mass-produce them.
Potential issues with global ISPs
The human race has caused a lot of damage to the planet. Check out one of my previous posts here. It’s not that we intended to cause global warming, aquatic pollution etc. Rather, these things have come as a consequence of our actions. Humans now have the capability of going to space too, but guess what? We’re also causing pollution in space as well. Space junk is a huge concern and this is something Amazon must consider. If they’re going to launch thousands of satellites, problems will occur at some point. That’s just inevitable.
Along the line, there will be a need to fix things. The more satellites out there, the harder it will be to conduct repairs. Similarly, it will also be more difficult to control waste material. But just imagine if Amazon and other companies called off their internet satellite projects. There would still be tons of space junk surrounding our planet. So, what I’m saying essentially is quite simple. This global internet satellite systems will almost certainly add to the existing space junk. That certainly isn’t good at all.
A second potential issue could arise depending on how good it is. If it proves to be very successful, a vast majority of us would eventually start using them. This would then lead to a drop in revenue for regular ISPs. On the other hand, a satellite network failure would be disastrous. Even just a few satellites malfunctioning could affect the internet supply. That’s not just in one place, but across the globe! In order to avoid this, these networks would need regular updates and checking. They would also require a back-up system in case of an emergency.
Now the last issue is… I hope it never happens. But what if these internet satellite systems are used for other sinister things? Like what?? Well, think cybercrime, espionage, hacking, theft of personal information etc. I know this sounds crazy now, but you never know. There are many innovations that were started with a good purpose in mind. However, certain people decided to take advantage of them. Similarly, the original intention behind this scheme is very noble. But you never know what would happen if it fell into the hands of bad people.
As you can see, the internet will soon become more accessible than ever before. Particularly for those in poorer areas of the world. However, we have no idea when this will actually kick off. Now, as with all such things, there will always be advantages and disadvantages. But overall, it will definitely contribute to making the world more connected.