Google Scores a Deal with Starlink

Published · May 19, 2021

Google announced its newest deal with Elon Musk’s SpaceX. The contract is about integrating SpaceX’s Starlink with Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

Starlink is a constellation consisting of numerous low-earth-orbit satellites. The project costs an estimated $10 billion so far and numbers some 1,550 satellites currently orbiting the Earth. Thousands more will be launched.

The aim of Starlink is to communicate with ground transceivers, providing internet access with broadband-grade speeds (50Mbps-150Mbps) to households in remote areas that normally wouldn’t have that.

Starlink is certainly not the first to provide satellite internet. However, it is the most ambitious project to date. It already has broken the world record for the number of simultaneous satellite launches.

What’s more, the partnership with Google might be taking the network corporate.

The deal entails Starlink building its ground stations in GCP’s data centers. One benefit for consumers is that the constellation will be hooked directly into Google’s private optic-fiber network, which has faster data delivery speeds than any regular ISP can offer.

The second part is that Starlink customers will have near-direct access to Google Cloud services. Commonly used ones include cloud storage, cloud computing, a machine learning platform, and much more. This can make Starlink a great asset to enterprises and government organizations that need to run applications in the cloud but operate in remote areas.

SpaceX is not the only one working on a similar idea. Amazon’s Project Kuiper also has $10 billion in funding and plans to deploy 3,000+ internet satellites. Although Amazon hasn’t launched anything yet, its ownership of Amazon Web Services (AWS) might let it build an identical combination of satellites and cloud services.

If you’re already wondering how to get Starlink internet, you might have to wait just a bit more. The system is currently in the beta stage of development. You can apply for access, but there are currently some 500,000 people on the waiting list. It only accepts a limited number of users in the US and Canada.

Some good news is that the network is projected to be available to all customers in the second half of 2021.

It remains to be seen if the satellite network will revolutionize the internet or if maybe Amazon will beat SpaceX to it. At least for a little while more, we’ll have to use cloud servers the traditional way.

Branko Krstic
Branko Krstic

Branko is a round-the-clock tech geek and loving it. His ideal vacation destination is the Akihabara District (or really any place he can take his computer). If there’s a server out there, count on him to find out what it’s made of… and tell you all about it.