North Carolina lawmakers may consider investing in SpaceX Starlink internet for Education

by Evelyn Arevalo August 25, 2020

North Carolina lawmakers may consider investing in SpaceX Starlink internet for Education

Starlink Digital Illustration Created By: Erc X @ErcXspace via Twitter.

SpaceX plans to offer Starlink low-latency broadband internet globally. The aerospace company is actively deploying internet-beaming satellites into low Earth orbit. SpaceX deployed the eleventh fleet of Starlink satellites last week, there’s a total of 648 in orbit out of the 12,000 satellites that will make up the broadband constellation. SpaceX is primarily focused on offering internet connection to rural areas where traditional internet is too expensive to set up, or unreliable.

Customers will receive Starlink’s internet from a user dish terminal, pictured above. The network will be easy to set-up at home – “Starlink terminal has motors to self-orient for optimal view angle. No expert installer required. Just plug in and give it a clear view of the sky,” Elon Musk, the founder and CEO at SpaceX said, “Can be in garden, on roof, table, pretty much anywhere, so long as it has a wide view of the sky.”

The Starlink network is designed to run real-time, competitive video games – “We're targeting latency below 20 milliseconds (ms), so somebody could play a fast-response video game at a competitive level, like that's the threshold for the latency,” Musk said.

The company targets to offer service in Northern portions of the United States and Canada before this year ends. SpaceX employees are currently assessing the network’s performance.

According to a report by news, North Carolina lawmakers will gather next week to discuss how to spend a remaining portion of the states’ Federal coronavirus relief fund. With some ‘stay-at-home’ orders still in place due to the respiratory illness, some schools are closed and children have been studying via online education. State Board of Education Chairman Eric Davis says lawmakers may consider investing $1 million to help children living in rural areas access internet connection via SpaceX’s Starlink satellites. Davis told reporters that if lawmakers approve, the state should be able to set up 1,000 internet hot-spots in portions of the state where telecommunication companies have not set up affordable data service.

Department of Public Instruction Director of Legislative Affairs Freebird McKinney told lawmakers that Starlink could be available in North Carolina by October – “We sure would like to take advantage of that opportunity,” Davis said.

Jon Hardister, a Republican member of the North Carolina House of Representatives, asked the department to provide him more information about the satellite network before next week’s meeting. “This appears to be a highly innovative program,” Hardister told reporters, “I am very intrigued by the prospects of using satellite technology to expand access to broadband. I am hopeful that we can explore the possibility of providing funds to support this initiative.” 

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