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Five reasons why Ukraine doesn't need internet from Elon Musk

Author : Yulia Serheyeva

Source : 112 Ukraine

In 2022, Elon Musk's SpaceX CEO Starlink plans to cover the entire territory of Ukraine with satellite Internet
15:21, 19 March 2021

Open source

However, not all Ukrainians are interested in booking places in the list of applicants for the Internet from Musk. Telecommunications experts are confident that you shouldn't rush to prepay just yet. And that's why.

  1. Geographic features

The main advantage of satellite Internet is that it will be more relevant where cellular is not available. Starlink is well suited for steppe, mountainous areas, where clients who need access to the network are scattered over a huge territory. And it is economically impractical to build ground networks between them, and it is impossible to service them. The main audience, therefore, are people who do not have physical access to the optical, mobile Internet due to geographic or other restrictions.

If the satellite covers the territory of the country with a signal, access depends only on the presence of a subscriber terminal at the client, which provides mobility. Starlink uses custom terminals the size of a small box with a diameter of 61 cm and a standing height of about 50 cm. Such terminals can be installed almost anywhere.

Starlink

"Satellite Internet access is likely to be mainly in those places where there is no developed network of optical communication lines. These are, first of all, small settlements or territories outside settlements: highways, recreation areas, reserves, etc." Serhiy Boyko, founder, and director of BigDataUA independent rating agency.

In connection with this advantage, the press secretary of the telecommunications company Ukrtelecom Mykhailo Shuranov is convinced that Starlink has every reason to become a real competitor in Ukraine in the segment of cellular and mobile Internet - especially in hard-to-reach and remote areas.

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But MP, deputy head of the Committee for Digital Transformation, Oleksandr Fedienko, is sure that this particular feature of Starlink is the reason why it will not be in great demand here.

"The question is not in the prospects, but in expediency. Ukraine is repeatedly covered by landlines. Even in remote regions, communication cables have been laid or are being laid on high voltage towers. Yes, of course, some niche is more corporate but insignificant," Oleksandr Fedienko notes.

If you live in a metropolis, there is little reason to use the Internet from Musk.

  1. Speed

In the data transfer rate, high-speed Internet from Elon Musk loses. Starlink now operates at speeds of 50-150 Mbps and latency on average up to 30 milliseconds. SpaceX plans to increase download speeds to 300 Mbps and lower latency to 20 milliseconds this year, Musk said. But even with such characteristics, satellite Internet sags against the background of optical communication.

"Any wireless connection, including satellite, has one drawback - lower speeds compared to fixed (wired, optical). Compare yourself, even the declared very high speeds of Starlink - 150 Mbps and ping (latency, - ed. ) at the level of 20-30 milliseconds - significantly lower than 1 Gbit / s or ping (5-6 milliseconds) - the characteristics of the connection via fiber-optic communication lines," Boyko noted.

Starlink

Despite Musk's attempts to improve the quality of Starlink, ping - the amount of time it takes for information from your computer to pass through the network to another computer or server and return back – will still be greater than with an optical Internet.

At the same time, Mykhailo Shuranov stressed that the density of subscribers also affects the speed of the Internet. According to him, when a large number of users are connected at the same time, the speed will drop.

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  1. Dependence on weather conditions

Starlink does not surpass the usual mobile Internet in terms of reliability and quality of communication, but rather the opposite. For example, if the optical internet is resistant to weather conditions, then Starlink quality may suffer due to heavy rainfall, heavy snowfall or thunderstorms. In addition, the ability to transmit data in optical lines is physically greater.

"Communication with a satellite is a radio signal that propagates in the atmosphere. Therefore, physical obstacles (roof of a house, mountain, etc.) and atmospheric phenomena: rain, thunderstorm, lightning, magnetic storms, negatively affect its progress. the light that is directed in an optical cable, "Mikhail Shuranov noted.

Therefore, Starlink users automatically become attached to external factors. Oleksandr Glushchenko is convinced that today when choosing optics or satellite Internet, the first option wins significantly both in terms of reliability and quality and parameters. If Starlink is sensitive to weather conditions, then the optical internet may suffer, provided that someone simply breaks the cable.

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  1. High cost

Oleksandr Glushchenko believes that from a financial point of view, Ukraine is not a market for Starlink. If we analyze the cost of the Internet, for example, in the USA or Canada (up to $ 100), then Starlink is a rather attractive alternative there. Ukraine, like other countries of the former USSR, has almost the cheapest Internet in the world.

The Starlink website states that the monthly subscription fee will be $ 99. At the same time, to connect to the Internet, future users need to buy equipment with a total cost of about $ 500. For this amount, you get an antenna that will exchange a signal with a satellite, a tripod and wi-fi router. Whereas in Ukraine the average cost of mobile communication is 3-4 dollars per month, including calls and other services. And the price of the fixed internet is about $ 7.

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  1. Hazy prospects for implementation

In order for this Internet to work in Ukraine, Starlink must first obtain a permit. The reason is that the sky over the country is state property, and all frequency bands can be used exclusively with the permission of the state.

Therefore, Starlink must first register a local company, resolve the issue of frequency use with the local regulator and, if necessary, certify the equipment. Only then can the company start working. In other countries, such as the USA, Canada, Britain, etc., such companies have already been established.

"The procedure is the same in Ukraine: all companies that use a radio frequency resource that have two-way broadcasting of satellite Internet need legalization. Internet in Ukraine should be provided according to Ukrainian laws. That is, if there are prohibited sites, then access to them should not be provided," explained Oleksandr Glushchenko.

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In his opinion, the introduction of Starlink in Ukraine is not advisable from a financial point of view due to the lack of high demand for it.

"Most likely, there will be several hundred or thousands of Starlink installations in Ukraine. Is it worth it for the sake of so many to go to the country and perform all the procedures, given that there are more promising regions? Probably not. From a financial point of view, I do not believe in the quick arrival of Elon Musk to Ukraine," Glushchenko predicted.

The estimates of Serhiy Boyko, founder, and director of the independent rating agency BigDataUA, are a little more optimistic. He assumes that the total number of subscribers in Ukraine can be no more than several tens of thousands of households.

Therefore, before buying yourself a place in the queue for a Starlink connection, you should at least wait for official permission from the Ukrainian authorities. So far, we are not talking about such plans.

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