Comment 2TZQ Intentionally Misleading


Elon Musk looking to blanket the planet with 700 microsatellites


Intentionally Misleading (Score: 4, Insightful)

by on 2014-11-11 19:31 (#2TZQ)

I thought about publishing the same story a couple days ago, but found it too much smoke and mirrors, with no actual news.

Elon Musk certainly didn't "announce" it... He's not even really involved at all: This is just a sad attempt from WorldVu to drum-up investors for their existing old crazy business-plan:
"the venture is in its formative stages, and Mr. Musk’s participation isn’t certain."
And it's a decidedly poor investment at that... Companies that have attempted similar business models tend to go bankrupt. See: Iridium. It's a hard business having to pay to launch hundreds of satellites, while not being able to sell to customers until completed, and most everyone with significant money to spend have other, better, local options (wired or cellular).

I'd like to see it go up, personally... Shortwave broadcasting is in steep decline and the internet isn't currently an option in remote areas of the world that are far off-the-grid. And text or audio services require only a very slow trickle of data, equivalent to dial-up or even 2G cell service speeds. The astronomical costs for current satellite internet is not viable for the impoverished people that WorldVu & O3b's model is meant to serve.

Rural areas of the US could seriously use something faster and cheaper than HugesNet. Even some urban areas have only one high-speed internet service provider available, and that may be with old & slow DSL at high prices. The large number of medium-orbit satellites with modern technology offers the potential for high speeds. But that requires getting prices below competing cellular offerings (eg. $30/month for 5GB+ data), and THAT price-point will probably require the first round of investors to go bankrupt, as it might never be viable to repay the initial cost plus interest with the small number of customers they can sign-up.

And THEN they'll still need government subsidies from around the world, on an ongoing basis, to make it economical for their stated target market. I think it's a more viable option than the solar-powered drones or balloons that Google and Facebook are toying with, but they'll need the cash reserves of those two huge companies to make it workable.


Time Reason Points Voter
2015-10-30 06:12 Insightful +1
2014-11-12 19:27 Informative +1
2014-11-11 21:17 Insightful +1

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