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Satellite internet promise to deliver cheap and fast services in remote Alaska, but the technology remains untested

The satellite-based internet is a project that has been running for years with a promise of fast and cheap internet services in remote areas. These internet service providers claim to have the capacity to deliver affordable and strong connections in Alaska, where the internet is costly. However, is this claim confirmed, or is the theory yet to be tested?

Starlink is the popular project under SpaceX Company headed by one of the richest men on Elon Musk. This project promises residents of a strong, unlimited, and fast connection for $99 monthly to purchase a one-time tool of $549. Recent updates in the company’s website state that customers should expect data speeds between 50 and 150 Mbps during this beta-testing that the company is undertaking. With that, experts can take the necessary measures to improve the speed with time.

One of the areas in the States with an expensive and unreliable internet connection is Alaska. Residents in the western region of Alaska spend hundreds of dollars monthly with an internet connection data speed of 10 Mbps. This figure is 5 to 15 times slower in comparison to the SpaceX Starlink project.

Starlink can easily change this situation since the project doesn’t depend on optic cables or microwaves tower but use low-orbiting satellites. The LEO satellites fly hundreds of miles all over international space and can deliver strong internet globally. John Wallace, a tech consultant in Western Alaska, was sure to advocate Starlink. He spoke of how Starlink can improve the internet in Alaska and the benefits the residents can have from this project.

It remains unclear when Starlink will invest in the Western side of Alaska. Currently, the company has over a thousand launches, and some communities are already in the testing phase. Reports show that SpaceX has launched several satellites in the polar orbit and can lend a hand to Alaska’s internet access.

Before serving Alaska, SpaceX will have to face regulatory hurdles. In November 2020, the development team asked for a permit from Federal Communications to deploy 348 satellites in the polar orbit. In January this year, the FCC allowed the launch but with only ten satellites.

Despite the issues, Hugh Dyment, a Bethel resident, submitted a pre-order for a Starlink box but is yet to get feedback from the company. Hugh spoke about the investment claiming that the SpaceX Starlink project is the best chance the area has to get an affordable and strong internet connection. SpaceX is not the only firm venturing on satellite-based internet, there are Amazon and OneWeb, and the latter has 110 polar LEO satellites in orbit. However, OneWeb has issues with the pricing since it depends on an intermediary.

GCI spokesman spoke of the internet venture in Alaska, claiming that this is a good opportunity to access a strong and cheap internet connection.

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