Elon Musk’s aerospace company, SpaceX, is raising $500 million at a $30.5 billion valuation in order to fund a satellite-based internet service, reports The Wall Street Journal.
SpaceX is planning to launch a massive network of satellites into orbit to give internet service for devices on the ground. That would give an alternative to cellular. SpaceX still hasn’t revealed which company it would be targeting with this service though. Nevertheless, it’s possible that it would fill a need in the IoT that would give the company a large income stream.
SpaceX is having plans to get its Starlink internet service off the ground with the new capital. This satellite-based network would need a web of thousands of satellites for it to be able to cover the entire planet.
The US government has approved more than 11 thousand satellites in total. The company launched two test units into orbit in February to start examining how the service would turn out and what the company would need to scale its operations.
A new round of funding will allow the company to improve testing and eventually move into the early commercial deployment. However, getting the satellites into orbit would most likely require extra funding, apart from the $500 million.
The satellite-based internet service could be a huge advantage for the IoT if SpaceX includes low-power services in its network. Several companies are planning to test and eventually deploy commercial satellite networks which would be equipped particularly for IoT use cases, that includes Iridium, Astrocast, and Ligado. These companies are trying to make the spacefaring networks to serve IoT devices. The reason for that is because they are a good alternative to cellular-based communications and usually function on different wavelengths because of the distances that signals have to travel.
This kind of internet service can give much better coverage because it doesn’t need fixed access points like a cellular network does. So, distant areas aren’t a problem and companies are able to use only one network worldwide.
On the other hand, satellite networks have higher initial expenses and therefore are more expensive, which can limit their value. With SpaceX’s new funding, investor relationships, and income from its rocketry business, the company could possibly move past the problem of the initial investment needed to get satellites into orbit.
If everything goes well, SpaceX will have a rather bountiful market considering the projected explosion in cellular IoT connections in upcoming years.