Starlink - satellite internet by SpaceX

We do have this “magical” thing called optical fibre but somehow humanity doesn’t feel the need to do the necessary changes (politically or regulatory) to encourage its deployment, and instead goes as far as lying to themselves by calling “fibre” things that aren’t actually fibre.

So instead we have “hacks” like Starlink. It’s an impressive technical achievement but wasting it on areas that are trivial to connect with fibre is in my opinion a major hack.

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This is the only reason I even care about Starlink.

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Couldn’t agree more - oh, but fibre is “expensive to deploy” no - they just don’t want to do the work - they dug up my street 1 month ago (the project completed in Jan 2021) and yet, still no providers will serve it. I mean, what the hell?

There are a few problems with just laying cable everywhere. Outside of developed urban areas the costs of doing this, and maintaining this, exponentially increases with remoteness.

Imagine you live in a small community out in the Canadian Rockies, or in the desert, or Himalayas, Siberia a small island community, no company is going to lay fibre cable all the way out to those communities if there are only a few people to pay for it. They would never recoup their costs.

Plus you have ships, oil rigs, airplanes, expeditions to remote areas who may need fast internet connections for navigation, communication.

Imagine if Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 had a permanent connection to a set of orbital internet, people would have known exactly when it went off the grid, heck they could have even streamed flight data to its company or local ATC’s.

I think buggering up the night sky slightly to get all the benefits of cheap global internet connectivity to help this remote communities to develop and have access to the world is worth it. We just need to put some more telescopes in space. A telescope on the darkside of the moon would be amazing.

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Not only do those cables already exist for the most part as nobody’s running the cell towers off DSL (“fibre” as many ISPs would call it). The last mile is the only missing part, whose costs scale linearly with the amount of homes served and thus don’t vary based on how remote that particular city or village is. Plus with the shift to remote working, more and more people will be moving into smaller towns and spreading out around the country.

I wouldn’t be so mad about it if at least people knew what they were getting and could make their own decisions, but at the moment a large chunk of the population is being deceived into thinking they have “fibre” when they actually do not which means they aren’t pushing for real fibre because they think they already have it. It’s a massive false advertising campaign that Ofcom is approving by way of its inaction.

Imagine you live in a small community out in the Canadian Rockies, or in the desert, or Himalayas, Siberia a small island community, no company is going to lay fibre cable all the way out to those communities if there are only a few people to pay for it. They would never recoup their costs.

I wasn’t talking about those areas - that is a valid point. I’m talking about the majority of the UK that still doesn’t have access to fibre, even in the capital city where those concerns don’t apply. My point was that indeed Starling Starlink is necessary for those use cases and thus its limited bandwidth shouldn’t be wasted on areas that are trivial to connect.

Imagine if Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 had a permanent connection to a set of orbital internet, people would have known exactly when it went off the grid, heck they could have even streamed flight data to its company or local ATC’s.

Kind of off topic but my understanding is that it did have access to satellite internet and I think the bandwidth should be enough to stream flight data in real-time should the airline want to pay for it and do the necessary changes to the plane. Bringing the cost of satellite internet down would definitely help with that though.

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This annoys me too. I believe we’re one of the few countries that allows FTTC to be marketed as ‘fibre broadband,’ which is just mental. Might as well call 10mbps ADSL :sparkles: BT superfast FTTE:sparkles: (fibre to the exchange) then!

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My grandma has blazing ‘Sky fibre essential’ at a mega fast 2mbps down!!!

Want to know the real crazy thing? Just around the literal corner, virgin media gigabit is available, just not on her street

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I used to have Sky 3mbps, I can sympathise! Do they really sell her product as a ‘fibre’ package? If so, that’s outrageous! Just remembered that Essential is the name of their ‘non-fibre’ package (r/whoooosh). But knowing Sky, it wouldn’t have surprised me lol

How much is 50m of fibre optic cable, a cable laying machine and a balaclava?! :eyes:

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I think France also allows it for HFC (cable - think Virgin Media) connections. They have to disclose (in the small print) that the final connection will be via coax cable, but that’s too technical for people to understand and shouldn’t matter anyway. When it comes to consumer internet access, the bottleneck should always be the last mile and that’s what matters and should be advertised - otherwise technically any connection is “fibre” since fibre will be involved at some point.

It’s even worse when the same provider has both a cable network and a real fibre network but their own staff is clueless about the difference or which technology will actually be installed (and by the time you find out you’re in a contract already - though I guess you can litigate your way out of it if you record all the information they’ve given you beforehand and prove they’ve misled you?).

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Ah, no. I just checked her bill, they class it as ‘Sky broadband essential’

Current broadband offering from Sky

Keep in mind that these promotional materials change all the time. It wouldn’t be surprising that at the time she signed up they were advertising it as “fibre”, and now downscaled it because they have “better” fibre (but still not real fibre).

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Here’s a radical idea for Ofcom… let’s call coaxial cable: “cable,” actual fibre: “fibre,” and any connection that enters your house as a copper cable: “copper.” FTTC should be sold as a faster version of a traditional full copper connection, and nothing more. As you say @Rjevski, the global internet uses fibre optic ‘backbones’ so all broadband packages use fibre at some point. You’ve got to clearly differentiate between offerings based upon the limiting factor (which will always be the last part of the connection). This is especially important since we have the stupid combination of a privatised telecoms sector and one company having a monopoly on supplying and maintaining our infrastructure (which nullifies the potential benefit of having a private sector in the first place: competition). If consumers are misled into being totally satisfied with paying far too much for what is pretty rubbish connectivity, nothing will improve in a meaningful way.

@andrew_fishy Ah yes, that 1mbps upload speed! Made uploading a small photo album more painful than a bullet ant sting to the scrotum.

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You mean actually forcing Ofcom to do its job? Heresy!

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Poppycock!

If you really want to complain about light pollution, start with your town council and try to get them to address the almost constant “sunset” glow over many of our towns and cities, from street lighting. Many people have never seen The Milky Way.

The nature of the low Earth orbit, means tach of the Starlink satellites is designed to have a temporary orbital lifetime & by design, will de-orbit themselves in such a way that they are completely vaporised as they come back down through the Earth’s atmosphere. They will not leave space debris.

How necessary they are, is extremely subjective; if you are rich, and are privileged enough to live in an area covered by a traditional ISP, you are in no position to argue against a service that is intended to bring the internet - at usable speeds and bandwidth - to those that don’t have access to it at all, or whose access/service means that they are essentially living in the dark ages. There are rural homes and businesses that are struggling to stay current and above water, that will now be able to claw their way back onto a level playing field, and in areas of the world that have zero Internet infrastructure and whose governments have failed them, will soon be able to get an Internet service comparable to the rich people and nations, and consequently, be able to compete on level footing with the rest of the world, and importantly (I think), be able to have their voices heard, and contribute to the global society - just think of what genius & compassion we might be being deprived of, by their exclusion.

Just to add to this reply, the chance of collision from spacecraft leaving earth is incredibly slim.

The altitude starlink orbits, the area is roughly 10% more than earth (the area the size of Asia). Google says there’s around 6,000 satellites in orbit, give it leeway and that figure is 10,000. That’s such a small number of objects in a vast area. Imagine 10,000 houses spread around earth evenly. It equates to only 3 houses in England alone. The chances of parachuting down to England and seeing one of the houses would be extremely unlikely.

Not to mention with today’s and future technology being able to track satellites to fantastic precision. You’d have to be having an exceptionally unlucky day to be in a collision with a satellite.

I imagine as the number of satellites that go up in years to come, they will create satellite free windows for spacecraft exiting earths orbit.

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We need to simulate this! to Kerbal Space Program

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Oh yes because light pollution from cities really impacts observatories built far away from such light sources. Oh wait, it doesn’t. All the whizzy lights in the sky, on the other hand, really do impact astrophotographers and people trying to observe the universe because all you see is a grid of satellites

And admittedly I don’t know enough about going into space but I’m sure all the random shit up there will be a concern eventually

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It’s already a concern.

Knew it! It’s just not a concern to the apologists

I’m very tempted to sign up to this. Whilst connectivity isn’t as bad here for us as it is for you, it’s not great either. Given how rural we are, we’ll likely be among the last to be hooked up with fibre.

Latency matters more to me than speed, and 20-40ms seems very good. It’s always nice to see an ISP advertise their latency, most don’t. The metric I’m most interested to see however is jitter. I’m expecting the quality of a service like this to be quite jittery, more so than virgin connections. £89 feels pretty fair for what’s on offer, and I suspect, in time, will become lower.

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