Elon Musk’s Starlink Internet Service To Launch In October In Greece

Starlink satellite
Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet platform will launch in Greece in October 2021. Credit: Official SpaceX Photos / Creative Commons / Public domain

The official launch of Elon Musk’s Internet Starlink service in Greece will take place before the end of the month. The Joint Ministerial Decision (JMD) for the licensing of Internet satellite systems is in the process of being published in the Official Gazette.

Starlink, a subsidiary of Musk’s Space X company, provides Internet access through a network of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites. It has already launched the first part of its associated activities in Greece.

Essentially, the JMC publication will “unlock” Starlink’s test mode in Greece. This will allow a small group of users to use its Internet services in the coming weeks. Then, at the end of November and beginning of December 2021, the Starlink Internet material will be sent to those who have pre-ordered it.

The regulatory framework for standard satellite dishes required for satellite Internet to operate on the model of satellite television has already been signed. The difference between Internet “satellite dishes” and regular satellite television, however, is that the former are both receivers and transmitters.

This is a key regulatory issue that needed to be addressed before Starlink began shipping internet hardware to Greece. The JMC was signed on the basis of the proposal submitted by the National Telecommunications and Post Commission.

Starlink internet via satellite pre-ordered by Greek customers

In the next few days, it is expected to be published in the Government’s Official Gazette and become law. Starlink can now begin to provide Internet services to consumers intrigued by the concept.

However, the equipment required for connections with Starlink Low Earth Orbit satellites is anything but inexpensive. A pre-order costs € 500. Some issues also remain unresolved. These include the status with which the Internet service will be offered to the subscriber and how the cost will be amortized over time.

During the test period, Starlink will offer its services using satellite earth stations available in neighboring countries, such as Bulgaria and Italy. In a second phase, it will proceed with the construction of its ground Internet terminal in Greece.

The start of the initially limited test connections is expected in the coming weeks. The material will be sent to those who have pre-ordered within the year. But there is an issue with a current global shortage of processors needed for the service.

Next bet: Ground data station

The next bet for Starlink in Greece is the creation of a ground station that will send the data to the company’s satellites. Using a set of satellites in low orbit not only promises a stable high-speed connection, but also extremely low latency.

As Elon Musk himself noted, Starlink primarily targets “white” areas, that is, those that remain outside of fixed and mobile network coverage. This, he said, affects 3-5% of the planet as a whole.

This advantage of satellite Internet should also be of use to the Greek state. It will bypass coverage issues in the government’s “digital transformation” plan.

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