Part 1 – The promise of satellite-powered WiFi

Starlink image from IG.

There are still too many places and devices where broadband access is unreliable or doesn’t exist for everyday use and emergencies. LEO satellite breakthroughs will change that. I’ll explore this in a five-part series.

In the 1980s and 1990s ground cables powered BBS’s and university WANs through modems. In the 2000s and 2010s upgraded ground and subsea cables powered WiFi Internet to ~70% of the US. The 2020s and 2030s could see satellite-delivered WiFi Internet to the remaining 30% of the US and even more in ROW. This future possibility is bold given previous bankruptcies in the satellite industry, and conservative given recent successes by Starlink.

LEO satellite breakthroughs will bring the internet to millions of US homes. The blue areas below have less than 15% of the people with internet faster than 25Mbps.

LEO satellite breakthroughs will also bring the internet to millions of mobile devices in the US. The gray areas below lack 4G mobile connectivity on America’s largest wireless network.

Satellite broadband will change telecom. This was asserted in the 1980s and was followed by satellite bankruptcies. Now feels different, with the Starlink consumer launch being the strongest demonstrated indication.

Next, the constellations propelling satellite broadband.