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SpaceX's new Starlink satellite internet service is being touted as a rural internet game changer.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

/ by mansuralisaha

 


The News Cover: our community is very isolated having good internet has always been a struggle having Starlink we feel spoiled now because we can do whatever we want there are only three pieces of equipment you know there's a router a dish and a big long cable these dishes connect to internet providing satellites that have been launched into space like this three two one zero ignition the system is called Starlink and it's the new much-hyped satellite internet service, from Elon musk's SpaceX. 

it looks like a ufo on a stick there are just two instructions and they can be done in either order a pointed sky plugin instead of using underground cords and cables Starlink uses low orbiting satellites to bring internet to remote communities that's all 60 of those starling satellites one of the first communities the macaw reservation on the northwestern tip of Washington state it's about 170 miles west of Seattle and two hours from the closest Walmart since Starlink. 

is still in limited testing we travel to this remote corner of the u.s to talk to a number of beta testers and put Starlink to the test to see if it's really the solution to the global broadband gap most residents who have internet connectivity here deal with slow speeds and service that falters during bad weather I have century link for my house I can't access zoom meetings and that's part of my work and I can't do that it'll crash I've tried. 

it a few times and it crashes I play this game and it's called cookie jam and it takes about five minutes to get going you can play like about three levels and then it will stop get into that split position remember front foot out weight on the ball of your foot yep back heels up just slightly up the street from Cindy Starlink beta tester Glenn Ellis isn't only video calling he's live-streaming personal training sessions and then your hips are going to move backward. 

as you lower down then you're gonna come back up nice and aggressive squeeze your butt really hard I'm gonna add some more weight I work for the maca tribe organization first I'm the preventative health director in my off time I'm a personal trainer I run a personal training program online in order to be more profitable and have a bigger reach 

I need to be able to expand to other communities five of them here we go but with the internet limitations it wasn't possible the biggest things that we're able to do is have multiple heavy usage uh devices on the internet at once nice job yep this is only a two-gigabyte video file but you know with our old speeds it would have been impossible to upload down the hill from Glenn Jason Roberts is also psyched about faster upload speeds he makes a living doing audio and video production

we asked Jason and his family to use multiple data-heavy devices at the same time. while Jason reviewed a youtube video he shot and edited his toddler son hunter watched cartoons all while his wife Stella made a facetime call and his other sons played a data-hungry video game that they simultaneously streamed to youtube starling seemed to hold up just fine over the course of a few days we asked Glenn and Jason to run a bunch of speed tests plugged into his router Jason got download speeds around 148 megabits per second and upload speeds of 13.6 megabits per second 

that's still below us average which is 180 megabits per second for downloads and 66 megabits per second for uploads but it's far faster than CenturyLink the main internet service provider on the reservation which saw download speeds barely above 1 megabit per second and an upload speed of 0.50 megabits per second still Starlink seems to be the best option around so how does it bring internet to the middle of nowhere the Starlink dishes that dot the macaw reservation connects to low orbiting satellites that fly about 550 kilometers 

above the earth, according to SpaceX that's over 60 times closer to earth than the geosynchronous orbits used by some of its competitors this minimizes the delay of the signal from the space satellites to the end-users who receive internet service that's what enables Starlink's internet speeds to be faster than previous satellite internet service providers like HughesNet and ViaSat but there's a downside to that closer proximity to earth. 

it means way more satellites floating around Starlink's constellation of satellites will likely have to grow into the tens of thousands to meet Elon musk's goal of providing internet service around the globe right now the range has given us a green light for launch in the meantime questions about the viability and repercussions of Starlink's mission are beginning to bubble up SpaceX did not respond to questions 

we raised about Starlink check this out Starlink the biggest issue with Starlink may be the cost for those with limited financial resources it's a barrier new customers pay almost 500 in initial equipment fees and I'm going to tell you right now the hype is real then there's a 99 monthly fee for the service it's a 500 that I couldn't afford right now at this moment the cost is definitely. a barrier for many especially in our community we have a really high unemployment rate during the non-tourist season 

some people don't have any income for a large portion of the year due to seasonal work there's you know there's logging and then there's fishing in nia bay where most residents on the Macau reservation live the poverty rate is around 30 percent according to 2019 census bureau figures that compare to 10.5 percent nationally, in fact, the poverty rate in most rural counties across the u.s is 16.3 the macaw tribe is exploring ways to bring better internet to the reservation at low cost but for now most residents have access.

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