Starlink is another ambitious project by billionaire Elon Musk. It started in 2019 under his company SpaceX, and it’s expected to be activated in the Arctic by the end of this year, based on a tweet by the head of the company.
The idea is to launch more than 40,000 small scale satellites in orbit around the Earth to offer affordable high-speed internet worldwide.
One of the company’s goals is to capture a portion of telecommunication industry profits to fund Mars missions and even possibly link satellites for space communication between Earth and Mars.
Based on a 2018 International Telecommunication Union report, more than half of the international population — 51.2 per cent — now has access to the internet.
Although the technology has been evolving for decades, rural and isolated areas, such as many Nunavut communities, still don’t have high-speed affordable internet services.
Marino Sanguya, community liaison officer in Clyde River says, “The connection definitely gets slow here and there and the prices are very high compared to down south.”
Starlink recently started testing in the polar regions. The National Science Foundation operating in Antarctica was testing the connection of a newly-deployed Starlink satellite earlier this month.
The telecommunication service is currently being offered for around $150 Canadian per month in the USA, with a starting installation price of $599. The plan is unlimited, meaning it has no data-cap and offers an impressive latency of 25-35 milliseconds.
While a large part of the world is already covered by the company’s satellites, some Northerners were anxious about being excluded from the project.
Its true of Twitter user “Larckening,” who mentions that although Starlink is available on all seven continents, “it’s not available to 70 per cent of Canada.”
Elon Musk replied to the tweet that “it will be later this year when laser links activate on polar constellation.”