Starlink will find it difficult to compete with Swisscom and carriers…

Starlink: You must be in dire need.

Observers of the Starlink deployment have documented with official sources to learn more, particularly in France, where ground relay stations are planned. In Switzerland, the authorities are studying the file, while the first prices published on the web should make operators smile, especially Salt! At least for now.

To get a precise idea of ​​the issue, the undersigned went to the sources of the information. The screenshot on the side gives an idea of ​​the prices charged during the beta phase. Therefore, it is necessary to pay 479 francs for the equipment, 62 francs for the miscellaneous costs before having to subscribe for 94 francs a month… Prices that may then change.

current procedure

In smaller print it says commissioning can take up to six months. It must be said that there are still several administrative steps to be taken, according to the Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM), which is processing the file. OFCOM will shortly respond to requests from Starlink, which will eventually announce itself as a telecommunications service provider. Below in italics, some more details from Caroline Sauser, Communications Manager:

The terminals that would be used in Switzerland have not yet obtained the conformity mark, neither for Switzerland nor for Europe. It is primarily up to the ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) to draw up the necessary standards to verify that the terminals operate on the frequencies reserved in Europe for such applications and do not present any risk of disturbance. Only when these standards are available can compliance be assessed. The request in this regard must, in principle, be presented by the company that produces the terminals.

When the declarations of conformity do not yet exist, we have the possibility of making an experimental concession, after obtaining all the necessary documents in the terminals used to eliminate any risk of frequency disturbances. Trial grants are valid for one year. The grant holder must then file a report on their tests. He can also apply for an extension of his trial grant.

What performance?

Specifically, Starlink should do better than the current satellite offers that use geostationary satellites and that are penalized by latencies of around 600 milliseconds. The constellation of Elon Musk, located just a few hundred kilometers from Earth, could offer reaction times between 20 and 40 milliseconds, compared to ten in 4G or 5G or a few milliseconds in fiber optics. Communications will pass on the usual satellite frequencies between 10.95 and 14.5 GHz, according to Arcep documents in France. Wikipedia provides other useful details.

In terms of speed, Starlink, which is currently not targeting a ground station in Switzerland, reports very comfortable speeds of the order of 50 to 150 Mbits/sec, but far from gigabit or its multiples offered in particular by Salt with other services per 39.90 francs per month… In other words, Starlink cannot compete with a Salt where its offer is available.

Elon Musk doesn’t dream

In a rural area then? Perhaps, but you still have to agree to install the dish and accept the restrictions that come with it. When we know that several operators, including Swisscom and UPC-Sunrise, offer 4G and 5G in rural areas with sometimes similar speeds with better reaction times for much less, we see that Elon Musk’s offer does not dream. It’s the least we can say!

In fact, as a “former amateur astronomer” and in fact passionate about innovative technologies, Musk is in my eyes a real nightmare that induces discomfort in the sky and a lot of pollution for objectives, in particular scientific, very debatable. Starlink, like Tesla, is the triumph of energy waste and facade. Which, by the way, sometimes hits the nail on the head with pseudoscience enthusiasts!

xavier studer

For more:

Starlink constellation: Elon Musk’s “space pollution” – La Tribune, September 5, 2020

Are electric cars environmentally friendly? —For Science, October 31, 2018

Two or three answers about the energy market on the AFIS website

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