by Russ Steele
The introduction of millions of satellite ground terminals into the consumer market open up some economic development opportunities. According to Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s President and Chief Operating Officer, the one million terminals will be shipped to the customer in a box, and they will do the installation. I do not have any information on how the 1.5 million OneWeb end-user terminals will arrive?
Based on my experience as a non-profit ISP introducing the dial-up Internet to the community where none existed, this will work for some people, the techies. Still, the average consumer is going to need some help. They will especially need some help in the early days when the network is not yet robust and has a limitation on coverage. Users will need to have some understanding of satellite dynamics and appreciate the line of site restrictions. They will need to understand the weakness of the system as well as the strengths.
As a non-profit, we put a significant volunteer effort into customer support, bring people up to speed on the Internet. This may be an opening for community colleges to offer courses for terminal customer service reps or hold on-campus classes on satellite Internet. The University of Arizona is offering online courses to train people to operate the network ground control terminals and associated satellite dynamics. So far, the end-user terminal training is not being provided. This opens some opportunities for entrepreneurs who might want to do some ground terminal user consulting.
I am planning to be an early end-user and will report the results on this blog. Stay tuned.