North Carolina counties test satellite broadband

The SpaceX Starlink service is a popular market trend for years to offer space-based solid internet connection to remote areas. It is a customer-friendly project that is readily available and affordable for all as SpaceX’s founder Elon Musk works to offer stable internet connections globally. From its founding to the first successful launch, it is a journey that SpaceX believes in a better future where remote areas are beneficial in the network sector like the urban cities. Recently, the space company kicked off a beta test program to test this network, and this technology is now in North Carolina.

 In the recent report, three remote North Carolina counties are taking part in a pilot testing program to improve internet access for school-age children’s families using the SpaceX Starlink service. This Satellite Internet Technologies for Student Connectivity pilot gives Swain, Hyde, and Warren counties a chance to access the Starlink Internet Service. It is a program under the Friday Institute at the NC State University, several partners, and NC’s Department of Information Technology Broadband Infrastructure.

Under the Starlink project, SpaceX provides a high-speed internet connection using a constellation with 4,400 satellites in the low earth orbit by 2024. Its primary focus is on remote areas that rarely have robust internet connections making it unsuitable for people with high internet needs. In January this year, SpaceX received $885 million from Rural Digital Opportunity Fund to offer broadband and Standalone services in thirty-five states. In a previous filing with the Federal Communication Commission, SpaceX announced that their satellites are over 1,000, which beyond the size needed to deliver strong coverage to much of America.

Starlink satellites are 60 times plus closer to earth than traditional satellites, which offers lower latency and ability services that the conventional satellites can’t provide. These satellites communicate to the ground station network that features many gateways connected to fiber. The Beta customers require a Starlink user terminal, a router and power, which costs $499 with a monthly fee of $99. According to the collaboration with NC, SpaceX will offer Starlink a package via a contract with the education system.

The school system will test and judge these services’ feasibility in areas without broadband infrastructure and reliable internet services through this piloting. Mark Sale, the Swain County school superintendent, states that this program will test the speed of the service, type of latency, and loss. The lab director in Friday Institute Technology noted that this service allows remote students to have access to educational resources like students in urban areas. Also, the institute will monitor its performance and reliability and ensure these services are available to all students.

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