Satellite internet is typically good for one thing: having internet. But according to Overwatch stan Elon Musk, SpaceX’s new satellite service will be good enough for not just authentication, but “competitive gaming” as well.
Musk made the bold claim about Starlink, SpaceX’s internet offering, during the Satellite 2020 opening keynote. Musk was touting Starlink as an option for those in rural areas or “sparse environments” that can’t get good internet now, regions that 5G simply won’t be able to service properly.
“I think it’ll take a significant load off traditional telcos,” Musk said during the keynote. But when asked about the cost and customer experience, Musk explained said it “will be very low latency – we’re targeting latency below 20 milliseconds”.
“Somebody could play a fast response video game at a competitive level, that’s the threshold for the latency,” Musk continued. “And bandwidth – bandwidth is a very complex question – but let’s just say somebody will be able to watch hi-def movies, play video games, do all the things they want to do without noticing speed.”
Musk went on to explain further about the practicalities, like the equipment users would have on the ground and issues around scarcity from a service perspective. Installing the software is relatively simple – Elon said the equipment will have two instructions on the box: “Point at sky, plug in” – but the main objective is largely to provide functional internet to communities that aren’t serviced by existing technologies, or their location makes it uneconomic for providers to service them.
Beyond that, SpaceX’s main priority is to make sure the technology works while avoiding bankruptcy. “To have more than zero in the not-bankrupt category,” Elon joked, talking about the number of satellite constellation companies that have financially struggled to date.
The full keynote from Satellite 2020 can be viewed above.