Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Space X Takes Step Towards Becoming an Internet Service Provider

More evidence of new interest in low earth orbit satellite constellations to provide Internet access: Space X has asked the Federal Communications Commission for permission to create and launch a new constellation of LEO satellites.

The low earth orbit satellite constellation likely would be aimed at potential customers anywhere on the globe where traditional fixed or mobile facilities are expensive to create or non-existent.

The proposed Space X constellation would change Space X from a launch company to an Internet service provider.

In a non-related development, Facebook and Google reportedly have abandoned potential plans to launch their own geosynchronous satellites for Internet access services. One might argue the upsurge in LEO plans makes geosynchronous a largely non-competitive alternative, in terms of the amount of bandwidth any single customers can get, at any specific hard-to-reach location.

The move illustrates the porous boundary between Internet ecosystm participants, where an app, device or infrastructure supplier can cross the boundary and conemplate becoming an actual Internet service provider.

The long term implications for Internet service providers (former telcos and cable TV companies or specialized satellite service providers) is unclear, but certainly increasingly unstable and uncertain.

Will tomorrow's Internet service providers be the same as today's providers? It is getting to be an open question.

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