It is the twenty-second year of the XNUMXst century and, although in the comfort of our urban homes it is easy to repeat that we live in a 'connected' era, the truth is that according to UN figures more than a third of humanity has never used the internet.
So is: Never. You read it right.
Well, connecting those people, those billions of people, to the network is a challenge for many governments and a potential market for a handful of companies. At the time, giants like Google (today, Alphabet) and Facebook (today, Meta) designed plans to achieve it.
One of those companies is starlink, a company that was formed from a project born within Space X, Elon Musk's space exploration firm, and that will begin operating in Colombia After permission granted by the Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications (MinTIC).
In December 2020, the United States Federal Communications Commission gave SpaceX the not inconsiderable figure of 856 million dollars to design a system that would provide 'broadband, low latency and low cost' satellite Internet access to rural areas of 35 states of the Union.
Starlink bases its proposal on the use of satellites that operate in orbits considerably lower than those of conventional communication satellites. In fact, on several occasions, astronomers from various countries have expressed their concerns about the risk of light pollution posed by placing 12.000 or more satellites in orbit around the planet, and many others say they fear that such an undertaking will cause a disproportionate amount in the medium or long term. of space junk.
On its website, the company says: “Starlink está a la vanguardia de la mitigación de escombros en órbita, cumpliendo o superando todos los estándares regulatorios y de la industria. Al final de su vida útil, los satélites utilizarán su sistema de propulsión a bordo para desorbitar en el transcurso de unos meses. En el improbable caso de que el sistema de propulsión se vuelva inoperante, los satélites se quemarán en la atmósfera de la Tierra dentro de 1 a 5 años, significativamente menos que los cientos o miles de años en altitudes más altas”.
Although the mathematics of the project seems solid, there is no precise data on what speed this system can offer. The specialized press has carried out tests according to which Musk's satellites achieve speeds of the order of 1 Gbps, which is acceptable, but is far from competing with other systems, for example fiber optics. Of course, fiber optics could not accompany you on an excursion to the desert, an island or a jungle.
Clients seem to have found the offer attractive and, counting Colombia, Starlink already has a presence in markets of 33 countries.
Although much has been speculated about the role that Starlink technology could play in the deployment of 5G, the truth is that for now that is not its focus. The satellite system is designed to offer fixed internet services to homes or businesses, not to mobile devices, and if they were to join the network, it would eventually be through a regular WiFi connection.
The website https://www.starlink.com/ It already allows you to reserve satellite equipment for use in Colombia. A connection in Bogotá, he indicates, can cost around three million pesos for the equipment, with monthly payments of 510.000. Customers would start enjoying their satellite internet, it is reported, sometime in the third quarter of 2022.