Elon Musk: Starlink Network on Track to Cover Most of the World – But Costs Will Be High

SpaceX rocket launch
SpaceX / Flickr.com

The long arm of Elon Musk grew a little longer this week when the Tesla and SpaceX founder said his Starlink satellite network is on track to beam broadband internet everywhere in the world except the polar regions by August. But it will take a lot of money to turn the operation into a profitable venture.

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Starlink is being constructed by Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. — better known as SpaceX — and has already launched more than 1,500 satellites, with operations in about a dozen countries, Bloomberg reported this week. During a Tuesday presentation at the Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona, Musk said SpaceX’s total investment in Starlink will be between $5 billion and $10 billion before cash flow is positive.

As much as $30 billion might be needed over the long term to maintain Starlink’s competitive position, Musk added. He said the service already has more than 69,000 active users and could reach half a million over the next year.

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“Our goal is not to go bankrupt,” Musk quipped. “Step No. 1 for Starlink is don’t go bankrupt. If we succeed in not going bankrupt then that’ll be great and we can move on from there.”

Musk also said Starlink has a pair of “quite significant” partnerships with telcos in major countries that could help the SpaceX division plug gaps in fifth-generation mobile and cellular networks, Reuters reported

Starlink features a collection of low-orbit satellites that provide high-speed, low-latency connectivity. It already offers a trial service and ultimately aims to supply broadband to as much as 5% of the world’s population that conventional fiber and wireless networks can’t reach.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.

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