Author Topic: Starlink - serious or money relocation?  (Read 7612 times)

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Offline Rick Law

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Starlink - serious or money relocation?
« on: December 04, 2021, 10:49:51 pm »
While I was aware of the project, I was not aware of the details.  I decided to look into it when Starlink was referenced in the Spinlauch thread.  The numbers are so far off I think Starlink is basically a scam to relocate money from investors (and governments).

This is one of those things where there is a thin line between amazing progress and amazing failure.  Musk has previously described the cash chasm that Starlink must past through before reaching profitability.  For success he must get large revenue streams from Starlink, which requires large constellations of satellites.  Nothing technically impossible about this, but getting it done before the cash runs out is a real problem.  Apparently he was counting on Starship to get this constellation into place quickly and relatively economically.  Again, doesn't appear to be technically impossible, but requires solving a great many problems in a hurry.  Faster than anyone has solved them before.  He has already done many of the things, but there are a lot to do.  Some of which (regulatory issues for example) are not really anything he has a lot of control over.

Besides what I quoted above, I came to conclude that the numbers just doesn't add up.  The COO of Starlink "Ms. Gwynne Shotwell, has outlined that the total addressable market (TAM) for her company's Starlink satellite-based internet service is $1 trillion."
https://wccftech.com/starlink-is-playing-in-a-1-trillion-market-crucial-for-spacexs-core-aim-outlines-executive/

I suspect the server farms will likely not move away from the reliability of land-based connection they currently use.  The current board band market is more suitable to estimate the Starlink's market potential.

According to BusinessWire.com, 2021 global boardband market is merely $271 billion.
https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210823005338/en/Broadband-Internet-Services-Global-Markets-Report-2021-C-Band-Ku-Band-Ka-Band---Long-term-Forecast-to-2025-2030---ResearchAndMarkets.com

According to Wikipedia (2019 latest year shown), 86.6% of the developed world is already internet connected.  In the developing world, 47% is internet connected.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Internet_usage

Observably, there is more internet connected by now, but let's use the smaller 2019 but more generous (for Starlink) assumption that $271billion at 86.6% (developed) and 47%  (developing), the growth capacity is merely 14% in the developed world and 53% in the developing world.  Even if you pretend the entire world at 53% growth capacity, you get $415 billion USD.  That would be the entire board band market: fiber, cable, satellite included; merely 415 b$USD.

Looking at these numbers, I think $1 trillion market is a pipe dream, even $415 billion (entire board band market with fiber+cable+satellite) is a pipe dream.  In a city, satellite is not very suitable.  They are left with mainly suburbs or edges of cities.  In my opinion, if they get as far as 1/3 of all board band, at $138billion that would still be a very generous dream but still a dream.

They are estimating up to 50% back haul traffic and 10% local.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starlink#2014%E2%80%932017
This left me thinking they are betting a lot of B2B traffic.    I have no hard-data on how executive in those individual businesses will decide, but I suspect much of those will actually go to or stay on existing land-based ISP back bone instead of via satellite with less reliability and slower speed.  I think this is the uncertainty that they are exaggerating, and exaggerating the growth of internet in the poorer developing world.  Exaggerated to a point I think it smells scam.

Does it look like a money relocation scam to you?
« Last Edit: December 04, 2021, 10:53:47 pm by Rick Law »
 

Offline AVGresponding

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Re: Starlink - serious or money relocation?
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2021, 12:40:59 am »
I linked this vid in the TEA thread earlier but it can't hurt to link it again here:





To answer you basic question; yes.

Cue the Muskie fanboys rushing to call us names...
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Offline David Hess

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Re: Starlink - serious or money relocation?
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2021, 12:58:24 am »
According to Wikipedia (2019 latest year shown), 86.6% of the developed world is already internet connected.  In the developing world, 47% is internet connected.

Internet connected how?  Starlink's potential customers are rural customers who currently lack service, and rural customers who are currently underserved, which in the US at least is almost all of them.  The only reason urban customers are not realistic is because of capacity limitations.

Starlink will also provide for the global mobile market including planes, boats, ships, and RVs.
 
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Offline AVGresponding

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Re: Starlink - serious or money relocation?
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2021, 01:04:39 am »
According to Wikipedia (2019 latest year shown), 86.6% of the developed world is already internet connected.  In the developing world, 47% is internet connected.

Internet connected how?  Starlink's potential customers are rural customers who currently lack service, and rural customers who are currently underserved, which in the US at least is almost all of them.  The only reason urban customers are not realistic is because of capacity limitations.

Starlink will also provide for the global mobile market including planes, boats, ships, and RVs.

You think there's enough of them to make a trillion dollar market? You might want to do the maths on that.
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Offline Algoma

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Re: Starlink - serious or money relocation?
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2021, 03:55:03 am »
I've installed Starlink at a few remote sites, works fine so far. Vastly better than the 5mbps/128k they had before for a much better price. The hardware seems to have fair enough design and quality, and setup that was basically plug it in..

 it's been vast improvement for the remote First Nation communities in Northern Ontario Canada that I work with. Far better than the $1200 a month 10mbps fibre they were paying for.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2021, 03:59:12 am by Algoma »
 

Offline AVGresponding

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Re: Starlink - serious or money relocation?
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2021, 11:36:17 am »
I've installed Starlink at a few remote sites, works fine so far. Vastly better than the 5mbps/128k they had before for a much better price. The hardware seems to have fair enough design and quality, and setup that was basically plug it in..

 it's been vast improvement for the remote First Nation communities in Northern Ontario Canada that I work with. Far better than the $1200 a month 10mbps fibre they were paying for.

Again, nobody is disputing the niche use-case of this system. The dispute is as to whether this is a trillion dollar market niche. And that's ignoring the light/orbit pollution issues. It also ignores the fact that other providers manage to do it with 3 geostationary satellites rather than 42000 ISS-killing fucking missiles.
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Online wraper

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Re: Starlink - serious or money relocation?
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2021, 11:43:06 am »
It also ignores the fact that other providers manage to do it with 3 geostationary satellites rather than 42000 ISS-killing fucking missiles.
Manage to do what? Crappy and expensive internet with unbearable latency and data capped?
 

Online wraper

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Re: Starlink - serious or money relocation?
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2021, 12:48:57 pm »
I suggest actually reading and understanding the article before creating the dumb forum threads. $1 trillion is a potential broadband internet market as a whole (TAM) and Starlink mostly intends to take a piece of it in underserved areas. Also consider that SpaceX is not a publicly traded company.
Quote
According to Wikipedia (2019 latest year shown), 86.6% of the developed world is already internet connected.  In the developing world, 47% is internet connected.
Does not mean it's broadband or that they have accessibility say outside of a library or an internet cafe.
Not to say by other source 2020 global broadband market was estimated to be $ 355B.
Quote
The global broadband services market size was valued at USD 355.09 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.1% from 2021 to 2028
https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/broadband-services-market
CAGR of 9.1% means that by 2030 it will be quite close to 1 trillion. https://www.grandviewresearch.com/press-release/global-broadband-services-market
Quote
I suspect the server farms will likely not move away from the reliability of land-based connection they currently use.
Starlink will provide low latency service to those who need it. With satellite laser interlinks it will have lower latency than fiber, thus provides an advantage to trading and some other things.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2021, 03:35:35 pm by wraper »
 

Online wraper

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Re: Starlink - serious or money relocation?
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2021, 01:36:24 pm »
http://satellitemarkets.com/market-trends/ngso-market-reach-morethan-us300-billion-revenues-between-2021-2035
Quote
Global Non-Geostationary (NGSO) Satellite Communications Market’ has found potential US$300 Billion opportunities across multiple market verticals between 2021-2035.
 

Online dunkemhigh

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Re: Starlink - serious or money relocation?
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2021, 06:40:16 pm »
Quote
I linked this vid in the TEA thread earlier but it can't hurt to link it again here:

I am following that and have got to the point where the chap figures they will need 2.5m punters to get close to Musk's desire. That doesn't sound too bad to me. But what turns me off that video is that the chap now says that with more punters there will be more equipment costs which will need more punters to pay for more equipment leading to more costs, etc. Uh, well sure, that's how these things work!

There are any number of products that go for years without even seeing break-even in the distance, but by doing that they manage to build up the numbers that finally do pay for it. That's why you try to get investments (to pay for the early loss-making years) and why you get investors despite the lack of immediate return. Think Uber, Google, Air BnB, pretty much anywhere you see a multi-billion business they've burned money hand over fist to get there. And some still are.

The bigger worry (for me) is the 42k bits of rubbish up there. I would hope that they have a suicide EoL ability (simply retarding into a low enough orbit would do it), but that still leaves the 42k working ones up there. Musk isn't alone, so we are talking a LOT of traffic whizzing about obscuring the heavens and looking for a partner to create thousands of unremovable baby satellites.
 

Online wraper

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Re: Starlink - serious or money relocation?
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2021, 07:03:08 pm »
The bigger worry (for me) is the 42k bits of rubbish up there. I would hope that they have a suicide EoL ability (simply retarding into a low enough orbit would do it), but that still leaves the 42k working ones up there. Musk isn't alone, so we are talking a LOT of traffic whizzing about obscuring the heavens and looking for a partner to create thousands of unremovable baby satellites.
They have the ability to deorbit themselves. Also as their orbit is low enough, they will deorbit due to atmospheric drag in less than 5 years if controlled operation fails.
 
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Online SiliconWizard

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Re: Starlink - serious or money relocation?
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2021, 07:06:03 pm »
I think Elon Musk has made no mystery about Starlink being the project to help make enough cash to fund his Mars projects. Listening to a few of his talks, it seems pretty clear? That means he's not really interested in Starlink other than a way of kickstarting something else.

Now whether this is potentially a scam or not is another question. Yes the alleged figures look a bit exaggerated, and the way to get there, well, is a bit concerning (the number of satellites, ouch.)
But none of Musk's ventures, as interesting as they are, have really been profitable so far. So that should give you a hint. Where do you think the money comes from?

Microsoft partnering with SpaceX may also be kind of a bad sign. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/10/20/microsoft-expands-its-space-business-pairing-its-azure-cloud-with-spacexs-starlink-internet.html
Be afraid, be very afraid.   :-DD
 

Offline David Hess

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Re: Starlink - serious or money relocation?
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2021, 11:30:10 pm »
According to Wikipedia (2019 latest year shown), 86.6% of the developed world is already internet connected.  In the developing world, 47% is internet connected.

Internet connected how?  Starlink's potential customers are rural customers who currently lack service, and rural customers who are currently underserved, which in the US at least is almost all of them.  The only reason urban customers are not realistic is because of capacity limitations.

Starlink will also provide for the global mobile market including planes, boats, ships, and RVs.

You think there's enough of them to make a trillion dollar market? You might want to do the maths on that.

And maybe they should start by not assuming a smaller market than we already know exists.  I just showed that these assumptions are wrong and underestimate Starlink's market:

Observably, there is more internet connected by now, but let's use the smaller 2019 but more generous (for Starlink) assumption that $271billion at 86.6% (developed) and 47%  (developing), the growth capacity is merely 14% in the developed world and 53% in the developing world.  Even if you pretend the entire world at 53% growth capacity, you get $415 billion USD.  That would be the entire board band market: fiber, cable, satellite included; merely 415 b$USD.

That is especially the case since we know the FCC rigged the connectivity numbers with the telecommunication companies.  If one person can be served inside of a zip code, that does not mean everybody in that zip code has available service if they want it.  And where those areas are served at all, they are massively underserved.

And how do we count services which are capped?  Are they "broadband" at all?  That is the a majority of the US.  I would count them as underserved.
 

Offline Rick Law

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Re: Starlink - serious or money relocation?
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2021, 09:11:17 pm »
Yeah, FCC might have exaggerated their numbers, or not.  But the under-served market will be hard pressed to bring Starlink to profitability.

Cap is just that, a cap.  One can always purchase a higher cap.  Just like housing, food, clothing, you get what you can afford and judge how much this is worth to you verses other needs.  Broadband (for now anyway) is for all.  Where there is a market, someone will fill that with or without Starlink.  The customer will judge if they want it or not.  If no one provide a cap high enough, one can always purchase additional accounts/lines.  As many lines as one sees fit to purchase.

The more I look at Starlink, the less I like it.  The "42K rubbish" orbiting is very disturbing.  Low earth orbit is going to be a shooting gallery, and land-based Astronomy is going to be a thing of the past.  This is very unwise.

I like to see SpaceX succeed in doing low-cost orbit-capable rockets, but I like to see Starlink fail.  I know Starlink is a subsidary of SpaceX, but if Starlink must succeed for SpaceX to survive, I would like to see Starlink fail, sooner the better.
 

Online wraper

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Re: Starlink - serious or money relocation?
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2021, 09:24:56 pm »
Cap is just that, a cap.  One can always purchase a higher cap.  Just like housing, food, clothing, you get what you can afford and judge how much this is worth to you verses other needs.  Broadband (for now anyway) is for all.  Where there is a market, someone will fill that with or without Starlink.  The customer will judge if they want it or not.  If no one provide a cap high enough, one can always purchase additional accounts/lines.  As many lines as one sees fit to purchase.
Really? Then why rural areas even in US are living without internet or with something that barely works while people are ready to pay insane money? Do you think everyone lives in cities where you can affordably connect people to the cable? In mountainous areas a mobile phone without any internet is a problem.
 

Online dunkemhigh

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Re: Starlink - serious or money relocation?
« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2021, 09:28:48 pm »
Quote
Cap is just that, a cap.  One can always purchase a higher cap.

Doesn't the US have places where there is only one supplier? And a pretty bad one at that, so I gather. There is also the thorny issue of net neutrality which appears to have gone down the wong rabbit hole, courtesy of Mr Pai. So Starlink may be a welcome alternative even where there is existing broadband.

Here in the UK we seem to spend a lot of time being told that everyone will have super-speed real soon now, yet many are struggling to get even Mbps speeds. If I were located in those areas I'd certainly consider something like Starlink to get a decent connection.
 

Offline stevelup

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Re: Starlink - serious or money relocation?
« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2021, 10:49:25 am »
You don't even need to be rural to benefit from Starlink. I live two miles from a town with 200k population and have Starlink because it's massively better than any other alternative available to me.

 
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Offline stevelup

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Re: Starlink - serious or money relocation?
« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2021, 11:05:10 am »
I linked this vid in the TEA thread earlier but it can't hurt to link it again here

I don't know where to start with that video.

The entire section on performance is complete nonsense.

The performance -massively- exceeds that stated in the video. I get between 330 and 380Mbps down and between 22 and 28Mbps up. Latency is consistently below 30ms, and I've had -one- outage since July and that was in the middle of the night and lasted a couple of minutes.

The rest of it is just dripping in so much personal anti-Musk bias that it's impossible to take much, if any of it, seriously.

 
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Offline Haenk

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Re: Starlink - serious or money relocation?
« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2021, 11:55:34 am »
The performance -massively- exceeds that stated in the video. I get between 330 and 380Mbps down and between 22 and 28Mbps up. Latency is consistently below 30ms, and I've had -one- outage since July and that was in the middle of the night and lasted a couple of minutes.

The big question is - how will those numbers be, when the system goes out of beta and lots of people sign up.
We had a sat provided internet service offering (don't remember, like 20 years ago?), with sat downlink and modem(landline) uplink. It worked great at first, but as soon as more people signed up, the speed dropped to below regular modem speed. You can only have that much bandwidth between sat network and base stations, which obviously has to be shared...
 

Online wraper

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Re: Starlink - serious or money relocation?
« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2021, 12:01:04 pm »
The big question is - how will those numbers be, when the system goes out of beta and lots of people sign up.
Seems they will not allow new users in bandwidth constrained areas https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1446125877494833162
 

Offline stevelup

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Re: Starlink - serious or money relocation?
« Reply #20 on: December 09, 2021, 12:08:16 pm »
It's pretty scalable - they can just keep adding satellites and ground stations.

In the time I've had it, we've gone from a single ground station serving the UK to three.

And as wraper says - they try and keep the maximum number of clients in any one cell to sensible numbers.
 

Offline Kalvin

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Re: Starlink - serious or money relocation?
« Reply #21 on: December 09, 2021, 12:25:39 pm »
Finland, Sweden, Norway = no Starlink coverage: https://satellitemap.space

Edit: Typically these countries has pretty good cable and mobile network coverage. But there are rural areas where the mobile network coverage is poor or non-existent. For those areas a satellite-based connectivity would be a nice thing to have. Probably the number of end-users is too small so that it is not feasible to provide satellite connectivity with decent pricing.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2021, 01:00:13 pm by Kalvin »
 

Online wraper

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Re: Starlink - serious or money relocation?
« Reply #22 on: December 09, 2021, 01:00:32 pm »
Finland, Sweden, Norway = no Starlink coverage: https://satellitemap.space
They will be covered by polar orbit satellites. AFAIK 61 of those were launched so far. 10 V1.0 (with laser interlinks added) in January in a rideshare mission and 51 V1.5 (have laser interlinks by default) in September this year.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2021, 01:05:30 pm by wraper »
 

Offline Kalvin

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Re: Starlink - serious or money relocation?
« Reply #23 on: December 09, 2021, 01:02:29 pm »
Finland, Sweden, Norway = no Starlink coverage: https://satellitemap.space
They will be covered by polar orbit satellites. AFAIK 61 of those were launched so far. 10 V1.0 in January in a rideshare mission and 51 V1.5 in September this year.

Ok, I was not aware of that. That is interesting development.  :-+
 

Offline Kalvin

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Re: Starlink - serious or money relocation?
« Reply #24 on: December 09, 2021, 01:36:57 pm »
I get between 330 and 380Mbps down and between 22 and 28Mbps up. Latency is consistently below 30ms, and I've had -one- outage since July and that was in the middle of the night and lasted a couple of minutes.

How much you pay for that per month?

What I found out after little googling that they are offering connectivity for about USD 99 per month, but what is the actual speed available for that price, and does the speed/quality vary greatly depending on the satellite visibility.  :-//

If the governments wants to keep the rural regions inhabited in the future, it would be a good idea to provide compensation for the high network connection fees.
 


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