SpaceX is deploying Starlink satellites to connect the world to affordable broadband internet. Millions of people living in rural and tribal areas across the world still lack access to the world wide web communication infrastructure that has revolutionized the 21st century. SpaceX’s primary focus is to connect areas across the world where internet connection is unreliable and unavailable. With approximately 768 Starlink satellites already in low Earth orbit, SpaceX targets to initially offer service in the northern United States and southern Canada this year, then expand to the rest of the world by 2021.
According to a report by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approximately 19 million Americans still lack access to fixed broadband service at reliable speeds. In rural and tribal areas in the United States nearly one-fourth of the population – 14.5 million people – lack access to the internet where they live. SpaceX hopes to close the digital divide and connect the rest of America to the internet, which provides easy access to free education and job opportunities at our fingertips.
In a video, the Director of Washington State Broadband Office Russ Elliott shared the Washington State Commerce Department introduced SpaceX's Starlink internet team to a tribal community called the 'Hoh Tribe'. The indian tribe lives on the Pacific coast of the Olympic Peninsula. SpaceX provided the Hoh Tribe with a Starlink dish terminals that were installed atop a community building, pictured above. Elliott said the tribe called his departmemt stating they had very limited internet and "were very nervous about the future."
How is this for a creative partnership? @SpaceX and @TribeHoh prove we can overcome the #digitaldivide. This is one example of projects we’re working on to bring high-speed internet access to everyone in #WAState. Working together we can make it happen! https://t.co/M0UgXXkDSH https://t.co/acdNWa47UT— Washington State Department of Commerce (@WAStateCommerce) October 7, 2020
The Vice Chairman for the Hoh Tribe Melvinjohn Ashue says his community lives in a very remote area, "It seems out of nowhere SpaceX came up and catapulted us into the 21st century. Our youth are able to do education online ... Telehealth is no longer gonna' be an issue, as well as telebehavioral health..." Ashue stated in the video. The Governor of Washington state Jay Inslee also gave a shoutout to SpaceX --"I just want to give a shoutout to these efforts to extend broadband to the Hoh Tribe, SpaceX and everybody working on this effort. We need this for our kids education, we need it for telehealth, we need it for small business development. Its a great step forward," the governor stated (video below).
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.