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    Starlink is a Big Deal networking sneak.berlin
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    As an amateur astronomer, this is a ‘big deal’ for completely different reasons… tens of thousands of (effectively) mirrors in low Earth orbit is going to really fuck up amateur astrophotography.

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      Tens of thousands more, I already have lost more than my share of frames to the wandering satellite or plane, shoving more shit up there is not something I’m looking forward to.

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        They’re going to do a pretty bang up job of fucking up professional astronomy as well.

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          Unfettered high-speed internet access provided by these LEO satellites would do a great service to democratizing highspeed internet access globally. However, if there is a constant reflection from thousands of satellites hurling across the night sky, that would be a huge negative.

          However, it seems to me that spacex is genuinely concerned about the light pollution ( Or.. is it inverse light pollution? ) Here’s an article about that, https://spacenews.com/spacex-astronomers-working-to-address-brightness-of-starlink-satellites/

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            How is it ‘democratizing’ if it’s 100% controlled by a private company that can be legally 100% controlled by the US?

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              As a citizen of the US, I have hopes that the traffic sent through the starlink cluster will be less monitored than the current hegemony of ISP’s, particular because the logistics of tapping into the data being carried would be much more complex than say, a centralized point like room 641A https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Room_641A

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                particular because the logistics of tapping into the data being carried would be much more complex than say, a centralized point like room 641A https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Room_641A

                Is this going to be a completely separate network from the global internet? If not, then there will be at least 1 room 641A (the point(s) where packets from users are passed from satellite to a ground dish plugged into some ISP)

                Sure, it’ll probably be a step up from the current situation but as a citizen of the US, I have severe doubts that this will turn out to be a utopia of freedom. I guess I don’t understand what you mean by ‘democratizing’ in this context.

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                  Regarding my initial use of the word democratizing, I meant that this will offer faster service, as well as offer consumers an alternative choice to rural areas in the US and around the world. But to be honest, the main reason I’m excited about this is because it complicates blanket nation-state snooping and I suspect it may help catalyze unfiltered internet access in countries that impose internet restrictions, not legally of course, but technically.

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                    because it complicates blanket nation-state snooping

                    Well, that was basically my whole point above. If you are in North Korea or China and using it illegally, then yes it will (as you pointed out). However if you aren’t, then you will definitely be subject to snooping by the US and other N-eyes nations with agreements with the US. So it really only ‘helps’[0] those who are in nations that don’t have snoop agreements with the US.

                    1. and in those cases, it merely exchanges 1 snooper for another, granted the other is probably not in a position to immediately inflict damage on you
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          As a metaphor for our age, ruining observational astronomy for the sake of high-frequency trading is almost perfect.

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            Connectivity will be the great equalizer in the future.

            Equalizer of what, exactly? This statement and the ensuing paragraph betray the misguided belief that technology is the prescription for social problems. Starlink feels like nothing more than a giant ego trip. If this was truly an egalitarian effort, the people behind it would have consulted the rest of the world.

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              The author also seems to assume that somehow Starlink will provide a cheap and high-quality service, while complaining about the “greedy last-mile monopolists” in another paragraph. Would it not make more sense to assume that this company will be just as greedy once it has established its own monopoly, at the detriment of us all?

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                once it has established its own monopoly

                You can’t create a monopoly by adding another competitor.

                Existing telcos are a natural monopoly because trenches, poles and wires are astonishingly expensive and it doesn’t make economic sense to build a duplicate set of them in the same location.

                While Starlink is also astonishingly expensive (more expensive per unit bandwidth for all but the lowest-density regions), it’s not locked to a single physical location. Being able to rearrange the fleet to serve different regions at different densities is a huge deal because it means every monopoly ISP on the planet now has plausible competition.

                Monopoly ISPs (eg Comcast in many US cities) will be forced to adapt and offer a reasonable level of service to fight off this competition (as they did when google fiber came out).

                I don’t think Starlink will offer particularly great value for money, but a capitalist market cannot operate well without competition, and Starlink will provide that.

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              Preliminary tests with fewer than 100 satellites up showed approximately 600MBps available as tested on an aircraft in flight to Starlink. For reference, my last flat in Berlin (the capital of the largest economy in the EU), on the ground on a main street in the city center, was serviced with approximately 14MBps ADSL, and this was the fastest offering available from any vendor.

              I mean, duh. It’s probably 1 user on Starlink vs. 500 on the local DSLAM?

              Alternately: this potentially makes full-time, international waters seasteading practically viable.

              Because Internet access is the problem with seasteading.

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                What sort of latency will Starlink have?

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                  God I can’t wait for these things to be over Australia.