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Would SpaceX make Net Neutrality Obsolete?


While responding to a reddit post on the subject, I just thought of this. Here’s what I said…

Oh to be a Conservatarian tech enthusiast…
Thanks to the free market, not having net neutrality won’t matter in a couple years. If Elon Musk can make space payload $500 per pound or less like he claims he can with the Falcon 9, there will be affordable satellites Let’s say you can get a Comms Satellite that can serve 10 people for $50k that weighs 300lbs, at $500 per pound, that would add up to $200k and if you divide the cost ten ways, that’s 20k per person and you can just get a microwave dish at a Google Fibre Area and point it at your Satellite and it could beam back in the boonies where it’s dirt cheap to live. Yeah I know if you google the average weight of a Comms Satellite, it’s 12,125lbs, but that’s designed to serve hundreds of people. Even if you don’t plan on personally doing that, just having that as a viable option would give you a bargaining chip and get you better service. Though the ping might suck, I think something like that in conjunction with 5G deployment might be good for gaming and telecoms even if you only paid for a cheap pipe at 3.5G speed.

Does anybody think I’m on to something?



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How so?


I see no strong arguments as to why SpaceX would make net neutrality obsolete.


I already explained, cheap Comm Sats. It costs $10K per pound on the Space Shuttle, but Musk claims the Falcon 9 can go down to $500 per pound.


There’s a shitton of dark fiber now. Tons of bandwidth ready to be used. The problem is the last mile. Bandwidth to your house is strictly limited unless you have fiber to the door, and bandwidth to your phone is even more so.

But all of that misses the point; cable companies aren’t doing exploitative anti-consumer stuff because their bandwidth is limited, even at the mobile tier. They’re doing it because they like money.


Here is the problem, he also said they would be making an obscene amount of model 3s but reality is a cruel mistress.


I think Musk is doing a way better job than NASA ever did. The Space Shuttle was obsolete back in the early 80’s. The Government doesn’t do things efficiently. Look at the public school system.


I’d have to agree but the there is a cult of personality surrounding everything Musk does so people buy into his over promising. SpaceX isn’t the only or first private company to launch satellites and what they are doing is really cool but we’ll have to see whether or not $500/lb is achievable.


Well, I think he’s a snake-oil salesman when it comes to Tesla and the Hyperloop. Space is a different beast.


This seems like yet another political discussion wrapped in a “tech” wrapper to avoid the rules of the forum…okay i’ll bite.

What difference does it make as to who deploys the network? I see no argument in the OP that addresses net neutrality at all, other than throwing the name out there. How does more infrastructure eliminate the need for net neutrality? I see no correlation between the two. Please elaborate.


It’s definitely his most promising venture imo


At least it’s from a different perspective than the usual ones. At least there is diversity of thought in this community.

Because you would have a bargaining chip to tell your local ISP to play by your rules or fuck off.


That sounds good in theory, and works in the free market, as long as the playing field is level…which it is NOT. Hence the need for net neutrality.

Corporations exist to make money. They will do what they can to accomplish this goal. What makes SpaceX any different? Nothing as far as I can tell. They are in the business to make money. No ISP is going to volunteer to hold themselves to a “higher” standard than what is required by law, especially if it means they will lose money in the process. This is why government regulation is needed in certain areas.

EDIT: spelling, clarity.


It would be real competition, isps can’t keep competitors off the poles if they don’t need them. Last mile is a real killer with larger isps controlling the infrastructure. The hope would be that with real competition (I’m repeating myself now sorry) things like walled gardens and fast lanes would go away as customers would shy away from shitty business practices.


Ahh-- so you’re talking about using the satellite for enduser connections. Thing is that satellite links already exist, and they’re terrible. You’re better off with DSL.

Main advantage of these satellites will be delivering connectivity to underserved areas, like areas of South America and Africa that often don’t have electricity, much less wired internet service.


I think it would be constant one-upmanship instead of a cartel. It’s like two store are the only place in town and then Amazon and eBay shows up and they’re like “Oh fuck, we have actual competition now!”. Some went out of business, some made their own online store and did very well adapting to e-commerce.


Yes, competition from satellite internet would absolutely cause Comcast and Time-Warner to be more competitive, if satellite internet wasn’t absolutely terrible and non-competitive by nature. Which it is.


It’s terrible because a Satellite ISP has hundreds to thousands of customers per satellite. Imagine if there was only 10 customers with a 10 gigabit Microwave Transmitter.


Not really, the problem isn’t bandwidth, as satellite internet can easily reach 25-50 Mbps these days. The problem is latency; your packet takes ~140ms to reach the satellite (time at the speed of light to reach geosynchronous orbit at 42km), then ~140ms to get an ack, and then ~140ms to reach from the satellite down to the internet point of presence, then ~140ms for that to get an ack. So you’re looking at >560ms latency best case scenario, constrained by the speed of light. That’s enough latency to feel bad browsing the web, much less VOIP or gaming.

And of course, you won’t always get the best case scenario.