The demand for high-speed internet is bigger than ever and in the modern world we need high speed internet in our homes. The days of going to the public library to accomplish simple tasks like applying for jobs, paying bills, and staying in touch with long distance friends and family are long gone. However, access to high-speed internet can be limited or nonexistent depending on where you live. For rural areas all over the world, satellite internet is the only option to get connected to high-speed broadband internet.
Seven space companies know this and they have been racing to put together their own constellations of satellites to become the biggest household name in satellite internet. Whomever gets up and running the quickest will easily dominate the global market and see very large dividends in long term profit reports. Let’s take a look at these seven space companies, what their plans are so far and how close they are in achieving global internet domination.
Space X’s Starlink
Starlink, owned by successful business leader Elon Musk is leading the way with more than 1,350 satellites already in orbit and an estimated 42,000 satellites to reach orbit by 2027.
Starlink’s business model is different from other internet providers; there’s no middle man. They’re not a telecommunications company charging a premium for service. Starlink connects households to their satellites directly. Sign up is directly on Starlink’s website and costs users $499 for a self installation kit that includes a tripod, home Wi-Fi router and terminal. Internet plans are $99 a month for up to 210 Mbps speeds.
If successful Starlink could take over the satellite internet space. They’re eight times faster than HughesNet and four to seventeen times faster than Viasat today.
Amazon’s Project Kuiper
Amazon has been fairly quiet about their satellite internet service since the FCC gave Project Kuiper regulatory approval to launch its satellites into space. Amazon plans to have half of their satellites operational by 2026. No further details have been released on what their satellites will look like or how they will be launched.
HughesNet is the biggest internet provider within the United States and is continuously ranked first for meeting or exceeding their advertised download speeds year after year. Their plans start at $64.99 a month for internet speeds up to 25 Mbps with no hard data caps. Worldwide HughesNet has expanded outside of the United States into Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Chile and more in South America alone. The most recent satellite was launched four years ago. HughesNet has plans to launch another geostationary satellite intended to be the largest commercial satellite ever launched by the end of the year.
Viasat, previously known as Exede, offers the fastest satellite internet speeds available in the United States. Their internet plans start at $99.99 a month for their fastest internet plan at 50 Mbps. Viasat currently has five geostationary satellites in orbit with plans to put another three in orbit starting this year. In addition to those, there are another 288 low-earth orbit satellites planned by 2026.
OneWeb In The UK
OneWeb in the UK, once at the brink of bankruptcy, was saved from ceasing operations by investors most notably the UK government, Bharti and Eutelsat. The company currently has 146 satellites in orbit and has outlined 648 in total for global deployment at an undisclosed date. They’ve earmarked their progress through a series of partnerships and Low Earth Orbit solutions that are easier to deploy and upgrade to future demands.
Eutelsat, a French satellite company and internet provider already provides service to parts of Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Their internet plans range from €30 and €70 for internet speeds averaging between 30 and 100 Mbps to specific areas and regions where traditional internet like cable and fiber will continue to remain cost prohibitive to build out.
Telesat In Canada
Telesat, a Canadian satellite company has announced that they plan on providing their first global satellite internet service by 2024. Their product called Telesat Lightspeed already has some of their Low Earth Orbit satellites in the sky with most satellites expected to be launched in 2023. Their new service boasts desirable features like low latency, consistent speeds, always-on internet and affordable to the average consumer. There’s no official word yet on how much their service will be or how fast subscribers can expect their internet to be.