Elon Musk’s Starlink in talks with the UK to resolve broadband problems Science & Tech News
The UK is in talks with Elon Musk’s satellite broadband company Starlink to provide connectivity in hard-to-reach areas.
It comes like Boris Johnson promised a “rocket boost” of £ 5 billion for parts of the country with slow broadband – the latest promise in its “leveling up” agenda.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden believes in the billionaire’s satellite constellation project SpaceX Founder and CEO Elon Musk is one of the best ways to ensure coverage in hard-to-reach areas, although alternatives are being considered.
The government is also looking into whether elevated platforms like balloons or autonomous planes could help ensure coverage in rural areas like the Scottish Highlands.
However, satellites provided by Starlink or the partially state-owned OneWeb might be a preferred option as they are proven technologies that are already in use.
Ministers claim that up to 510,000 households and businesses in Cambridgeshire, Cornwall, Cumbria, Dorset, Durham, Essex, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Tees Valley will be the first to benefit from the Gigabit project.
In June, the government is expected to announce the next acquisitions to connect up to 640,000 premises in Norfolk, Shropshire, Suffolk, Worcestershire, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
Starlink’s low-earth orbital satellites orbit the planet, providing ultra-fast broadband to the regions they travel over.
Although the network currently only offers speeds between 50Mbps and 150Mbps – with brief periods of no connectivity – the government expects Starlink to offer up to 200Mbps across the UK by the end of the year.
Although there have been some light pollution concerns, Starlink plans to manufacture the satellites. “generally invisible to the naked eye within a week of starting “after complaints with Elon Musk Deny claims that the possibly 12,000-strong fleet could ruin the night sky for astronomers.
The tech entrepreneur hopes Starlink will generate cash for its other ambitions in space, including flying paying customers to the moon and trying to colonize Mars.
“We believe this is an important step towards building a self-sustaining city on Mars and a base on the moon,” said the billionaire.