SpaceX Broadband Web Tools Found at Eastlink Property in St. John | Regional enterprise | enterprise

So far, it’s just a few photos of SpaceX devices installed on an Eastlink property in St. John. However, that was more than enough to fuel speculation. One of the richest people in the world, Elon Musk, is bringing his Starlink broadband internet service to the region.

Starlink is a SpaceX project utilizing low-orbit satellites, nearly 1,000 of which have been launched into space as part of a global broadband internet service since May 2019. Last fall, Innovation, Science and Economic Development granted SpaceX approval to Canada. In November, the collaboration with FSET Information Technology began to connect the Picangic First Nation in Ontario. FSET became the first Starlink customer in Canada through the company’s ongoing Better Than Nothing Beta program.

Neither SpaceX nor Eastlink speak, but others do.

On Boxing Day, a Reddit user (andrew867) posted links to photos of Stalink devices in the Eastlink data center, calling them uplink terminals.

“Eastlink has direct access to the only operational dark fiber / wavelength service coming into the province from Nova Scotia,” the reddit user wrote. “I would have no doubt that Starlink will add more uplinks across the province to improve coverage of the existing fiber route.”

The Telegram contacted Eastlink to comment on its business relationship with SpaceX and its Starlink service. A company spokeswoman said Eastlink “does not share details about existing or prospective customers.”

Rural remote access

The SpaceX equipment will be installed at Eastlink’s Duffy site in St. John’s. – andrew867 / reddit

The photos attracted a lot of attention on online blogs and websites devoted to coverage of SpaceX and Tesla, Musk’s other major tech company known for its electric vehicles.

Moving Starlink to the region makes sense as the destination primarily serves rural and remote communities where it is difficult to provide a financial case for building the usual infrastructure.

Spencer Callaghan is a communications manager at Canada’s Internet Registrar (CIRA), a non-profit that manages the .ca domain and also deals with online security issues. He said the COVID-19 pandemic opened eyes to understand the impact slow internet service can have on rural and remote communities.

“Smaller communities were at a disadvantage back in 2018 because they didn’t have all of the options for remote learning, remote working, and the ability to open an e-commerce store,” he said. “We have seen a tremendous explosion in e-commerce where basically anyone with an internet connection can start an online business and make a really good living for themselves. If they live in a remote community or have no access to quality internet in some cases without internet you are basically cut off from this economy. “

With the online economy growing more rapidly than ever during the pandemic and remote learning and working situations, communities that lack good quality internet connectivity are at another disadvantage.

“Not much has changed from the situation two years ago,” said Callaghan. “The only problem is that we are much more aware of all the gaps.”

The competition is good

A view under an uplink terminal. – andrew867 / reddit

New entrants like Starlink and technological breakthroughs will only improve the situation, according to Callaghan.

“Satellite internet has traditionally not been the best solution,” he said. “It was slow, it was expensive, it was difficult to access. Advances in this area are to be welcomed. Starlink is a really interesting development and we are pleased that there is competition and movement in this sector. Obviously Telesat, which was a few months ago As part of the announcement of the federal government’s broadband plan, there are some really interesting technologies in this area too. Anything that helps make these technologies more profitable will only benefit remote and rural communities. “

Telesat signed a $ 600 million agreement with the federal government last November to offer its own broadband service using low-earth orbit satellites at a discounted price to connect rural, northern and indigenous communities.

“Canada is in a unique position, almost truly global, because of the size of our country and the remote parts of our country,” he said. “This type of technology is so much more necessary because of the remote communities, rural communities, and indigenous communities that may not have access … Newbies like Starlink are welcome, not so much in and of themselves, but more because of the competition and the innovation that they will fuel across the industry. “

To identify underserved areas in the country, CIRA conducts an internet performance test where users can test their download and upload speed and submit the data anonymously to CIRA. CIRA then shares this data with the government and stakeholders to help bridge the gap between urban and rural parts of the country. Callaghan said this helps inform government policy within Industry Canada and the Canadian Radio, Television and Telecommunications Commission.

A label uniquely identifies the uplink terminal as a property of SpaceX.

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