SpaceX goes slow on Internet satellite plan

Image: SpaceX and Space Needle
During SpaceX’s Seattle announcement about an Internet satellite network, the company’s logo lit up Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center. (GeekWire photo)

It’s been nine months since SpaceX’s billionaire founder, Elon Musk, announced plans to put up a constellation of 4,000 satellites to provide global Internet service, and scores of employees are being hired in the Seattle area to start making it so. But today SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell signaled that the company is reconsidering those plans.

“I would say that this is actually very speculative at this point,” Space News quoted Shotwell as saying at the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia convention in Hong Kong. “We don’t have a lot of effort going into that right now.”

The project is technically doable, she said. “But can we develop the technology and roll it out with a lower-cost methodology so that we can beat the prices of existing providers like Comcast and Time Warner and other people? It’s not clear that the business case will work,” she said.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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