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The broadband space race is here: LEO, MEO, beam it down!

LEO, MEO, beam it down! For all the keen Star Trek fans out there, virtually beaming down the internet (from space to the Earth) is slowly becoming a reality, thanks to LEO and MEO (Low or Medium Earth Orbit). In fact, 2018 has already been a big year for this push, with two internet-relaying satellites from SpaceX’s Starlink constellation being launched into the Earth’s orbit earlier this year.


What are the advantages of this advance in technology? It’s simple; just imagine 4 billion people with access to the web. As well as SpaceX, this could soon be an accepted reality because of companies like Samsung and Boeing, OneWeb, Telesat LEO, SES O3B, Iridium Next, and LeoSat.


Why does all this matter to Telco Compare consumers? Because LEO and MEO providers will have to compete against centennial giants like AT&T and Verizon, and other global giants. Fortunately, more competition will equal more cost savings with another layer of network diversity.


Imagine, according to Farooq Khan (president of Samsung Research America in Dallas), that 4,600 satellites in LEO (Low Earth) orbit "can provide [the] overall capacity of one Zetabyte/month or 200GB/month” and be enough for 5 billion users worldwide.


Khan also expects that by 2028, 200 GB will be a standard memory usage rate around the world.


Currently, there are around 1,700 satellites in orbit, so there are growing pains and planning that needs to be done to make this possible, although the FCC has already started granting approvals to companies, and the race is on. If you consider that GPS currently uses 31 satellites, then think how LEO and MEO will add to the orbital space congestion.


There will be many partnerships to come. As an example, Apple and Boeing are reportedly talking to create a satellite network. Just imagine it; iTunes (and Apple Music) being available anywhere in the globe!


Other companies that are making great progress to improve maritime/airplane navigation safety is halfway to its goal according to Aviation Week, as of the January time frame.


This is very impressive, considering that internet access is currently only available to around 50% of the Earth’s population. According to Larry Press, Professor of Information Systems at California State University, this is due to cost or infrastructure.


Nonetheless, if everything goes well for SpaceX’s satellites, there are parts of the US, like Alaska, that could finally access the internet by 2020 thanks to LEO!


In this field, there are many questions that will arise. At Telco Compare, we will translate these, and share how these technological advances can make business sense. Stay tuned.

July 30, 2018