Starlink Internet Service

Texas to use Starlink Internet Service by 2021

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Key highlights:

  • Ector County Independent School District (ECISD) in Odessa will be the first to use SpaceX satellites to offer Internet access to students.
  • The internet service will be available in the northern US and preferably, southern Canada.
  • Broadband installation in the Southern United States yet to be confirmed.

SpaceX has promised to provide internet services to 45 families in the Texas school district earliest in 2021and additionally to 90 families later. Ector County Independent School District (ECISD) in Odessa announced that it will be the “first school district to utilize SpaceX satellites to provide Internet for students.” 

The project will initially provide free Internet service to 45 families in the Pleasant Farms area of south Ector County,” the district said. “As the network capabilities continue to grow, it will expand to serve an additional 90 Ector County families.”

Starlink Internet Service

The Texas location is noteworthy because the limited, on-going Starlink beta link exists exceptionally in the northern US. SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk said that he hopes the internet service will be available for the northern US and preferably southern Canada. SpaceX will be able to expand up to the service area as it deploys more of the nearly 12,000 satellites that are authorised to launch as it has more than 700 satellites in its orbit. In Washington State, Starlink has been positioned to rural homes, a remote tribe, and emergency responders and families in wildfire-stricken zones. 

The ECISD said in the announcement that the services will begin “early in 2021” without providing an exact date. However, an article provided by ECISD said it will be in January. According to the Odessa American, the total project cost is $300,000, half of which is being provided by Chiefs for Change, a non-profit group for school district leaders.

It is still unclear if the money will be given to SpaceX but the school district has plans to “identify the families [who will get service] and facilitate the delivery of the necessary equipment to those homes.” 

Southern US locations not confirmed yet 

Starlink Internet Service

The availability of Starlink internet service in southern US locations is still unknown. SpaceX detailed a plan in August 2019, which would deploy 60 satellites in three different orbital planes instead of one single plane. At the time, SpaceX said that it would by default install broadband in the Southern United States by 2020. 

ECISD pointed out the importance of home internet services for the students to attend classes, complete and submit their assignments in times of pandemic. “When COVID-19 forced the closure of school buildings last spring, it really brought to the forefront just how large the digital divide is in Ector County,” the ECISD announcement said. 

As ECISD leaders dove into surveys of teachers, students, and families, they found some 39 percent of families have limited to no Internet access. The SpaceX Starlink satellite technology will provide high-speed, low-latency broadband Internet to an area where that type of access is not currently available or affordable.”

Also read:  10 of the Most Compelling and Best Space Documentaries of the Decade



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