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Would SpaceX make Net Neutrality Obsolete?


@commodore256: What @magicthighs means here mate is distance traveled, etc., without environmental factors playing in at a given dispersal rate.

Insulated light encompassed within protection for data delivery versus un-insulated data dispersal with non-light waves as the means of conveyance.

At least that is as best I can explain without writing a novel.
Which I care not to do.


Yeah, sorry, I’m just giving actual numbers I’ve seen in the field here. I’ve set up networks that use satellite connections. I’ve had to use satellite uplinks when working at remote (like, middle of nowhere, oil platforms, etc) locations. If you think your cellphone can get a crappy connection, wait until you have to use a satellite connection :wink:


No worries and pretty much spot on.
The Author asked for input that is being given accordingly.
I call that a good thread.


LEO satellites don’t use light, they use radio waves.


This is only true for satellites in geostationary orbit. Several companies (including SpaceX iirc) have announced plans to launch satellites into low earth orbit which would completely eliminate the issue. Just because satellite internet sucks right now doesn’t mean the obstacles cannot be overcome in the future.


The problem with LEO’s is that their usable lifespan is a lot less than that of of the ones higher up, and because they are closer you will many more of them to have ample coverage.


Sure, but that doesn’t change the fact that companies are working on it as we speak. If low earth satellites are what it takes to make satellite internet competitive then that’s what companies are going to make because they cannot make money otherwise.

Other telecommunications providers like Iridium are also moving to low earth orbit. This is not a pipe dream, it’s happening.

EDIT: ESA is also developing an air-breathing ion thruster which can be used to counteract the drag of low flying satellites. This technology is nowhere near ready for production use but it shows that problems with satellite internet can be overcome. We are not limited by the speed of light but technology.


Your original post didn’t really make sense.

Net neutrality isn’t about fast or slow internet, or internet availability.

It’s about paying more to get better quality or access to certain sites over others.

I.E. Providing crappy internet service isn’t a violation of net neutrality. But asking for money to get better service for YouTube and Gmail is.

And the solution is relying on some guy that can’t even meet the demands of his primary business? Mother f’ing lmao.


Yeah, no. I like the internet, but not enough to drop $20K on. And god forbid something breaks while it’s in orbit.

You’d need a geostationary satellite, and the ping on those suck. Roughly 250ms to get to the satellite and back in a near perfect scenario.


LEO satellites would solve the latency problem, but would be very expensive to deploy and maintain as those orbits quickly decay and need to be boosted a couple times per year, which would not happen in this scenario. Each satellite would only last a couple months before coming down and burning up in the atmosphere.

So you’d need to get satellites up to LEO really cheaply, the satellites themselves would need to be very inexpensive to make sense as they’re essentially disposable, and since they’re not geosynchronous you would need a lot of them to maintain connectivity 24/7 over any given spot of land.

Those are all potentially solvable problems, as they don’t involve breaking the speed of light. But they are tough ones.

That’s where stuff like Google’s Project Loon comes in. Using weather balloons on the edge of the atmosphere makes a lot more sense than satellites in LEO. Yes you need even more of them, but you don’t need to worry about reaching escape velocity and costs are drastically lower.


Yeah either I could buy a new RV to live in or I could have shitty internet.

Truth is we have to do it ourselves.


People end up caught in the Romance of the internet, just like other forms of media. The fiction is more appealing than the reality and therefore must be true.


Good catch mate.
Corrected my own lack of paying attention accordingly.

I don’t even think we have technology to use light waves as a means of transmitting data from/to satellites unencumbered at this point in time (read, too lazy to check).

Edit: Did some quick research.
Link below.
Radio based waves indeed for all of the above.

Satellite Internet Access


Remember the BFR? Hyperloop? Yeah not happening.


The main thing is that building a prototype and mass producing things are two different beasts. I bet Tim Cook doesn’t know anything about how to make an iPhone from scratch but he can bring people together to manufacture 40M iPhone Tens in the span of under six months. We will need a lot of satellites working reliably enough to provide coverage throughout the world. It won’t be easy.


I’d kinda hoped that the title of this post was, “could Spacex make anti-net neutrality obsolete.”


Not sure that this guy knows alot about what he’s talking about. Dishes are used for geo-synchronous satellites which current satellite internet infrastructure uses. The dishes are fixed to point at the satellite and focus the signal for communicating with a satellite 22000 miles up. Musk’s plan is to use many more satellites much lower in orbit, somewhere around the altitude of the ISS or a bit higher. The satellites cant be geo-synchronous at that altitude, so having a fixed dish wouldn’t work. The pros of low altitude satellites is more bandwidth and much more desirable ping times (signal traveling ~180 miles instead of ~22000).

Also his wording is odd concerning cost. “Just” 20k per person? Even copper infrastructure ISPs would balk at that cost for a single household. Does he honestly think people will pony up that much cash for a broadband connection in the boonies? Maybe a small WISP provider but that severely limits the potential customer reach.


That is flatly wrong and the work NASA has done at changing literally everything about your daily way of life cannot be understated. This at the 4:20 mark, and this can describe how Nasa made satillite technology, and the digital photography technology that has impacted literally everyones ability to gather information and communicate with the people around the world.

While I do like the idea of more access to space, SpaceX has made mistakes NASA has solved for decades already. I’ll double down and say I do like the work SpaceX and hope for it’s success. Just that NASA has done literally God's work, and gave us the goddamn hubble deep space pictures man. I can’t think of much anything better. Worth every cent of the taxes that goes to NASA forever.

Back to the main subject. It’s a waste. I can’t find any numbers on the maximum bandwidth of the tintin-a or b but the Worldview-4 satellite can apparently send 17 TB/s a day. So the maximum bandwidth is somewhere around 200MB per second. That was launched in 2016 so I think that’s a pretty good number to go with.

1,600Mbps is a solid connection, and people could easily share that bandwidth with a few people, but there’s absolutely no way that you can expand that out to the speeds that should already be available to us through the fiber that already exists today without launching more satellites. Let’s say at peak times it will get 25 Mbps to 64 people, that comes out to 5,468,750 satellites. You could get about 2 of those satellites out per launch and still recover the rocket. Not including launches for better throughput when inevitably people start wanting higher connection rates.

It’s just so wasteful. There is so much more connectivity here for much smaller costs and wastes. This would be awesome tech to cover out of scope areas to cover those few people, but as backbone to the internet it’s just horrendously expensive.

A better solution is looking at our current economic system and figuring out why companies exploit these vital services in the first place, and making it so that the extreme negative consequences are more readily apparent.




Really should add. Readily apparent to everyone.

I’m sure there are people that know what they’re doing is harmful. Data caps and doing the bare minimum while techonlogy moves ever faster all the while overcharging people. It removes spending power from individuals. Decreasing their ability to pay for other services and goods that could help make them healthier, happier, and more productive. That money that gets funneled away into more specialized self serving uses and creates a disconnect between what society really needs and how the “markets dictate what we need.”