Speaking to the audience at the Mobile World Congress last Tuesday, Musk boasted of advances in Starlink technology and subscriber growth, as he estimated the total investment cost in the satellite internet business at up to $30 billion.
If successful, the service could vastly expand the reach of broadband Internet worldwide, connect Tesla vehicles, and even provide a new platform for dealers and others with sophisticated Internet needs.
SpaceX’s Starlink space division launched its beta program “Better Than Nothing Beta program” in the U.S. last October at data speeds of up to 150 megabits per second.
Early reviews have been mixed, with some users complaining about the problems that have always plagued satellite internet: weather sensitivity.
The service should improve with more satellites, as Starlink has launched more than 1,700 of its 260-kilogram satellites into space so far and plans a further 40,000.
The price pain could be alleviated by nearly $900 million in subsidies from the Federal Communications Commission that Starlink is earmarking for transferring the internet to rural areas.
More importantly, Starlink said it can cut costs further by building its own terminals and satellites.
It has hired engineers from chipmakers Broadcom Inc, Qualcomm Inc, and others to design its own communications chips, echoing a similar move made in the past by Tesla.
Starlink has cut terminal costs by more than half, from $3,000, and expects them to be in the range of a few hundred dollars next year.
For more information, read the original story in Reuters.