Tag: Wildfires

30
Sep
2020
Posted in internet

SpaceX’s Starlink in action: Internet satellites keep emergency workers online amid wildfires

It’s emerged that SpaceX’s Starlink satellites have been delivering internet services since early August to the Washington state military’s emergency management unit helping residents recover from recent wildfires.

As noted by CNBC, providing services to Washington emergency responders is the first publicly known application of the satellite broadband service.   

SpaceX is currently conducting private Starlink beta trials with residents in some parts of northern US and lower Canada, including remote communities in Washington state, Starlink revealed in an FAQ posted on Reddit in July. 

The Washington emergency division has been using seven Starlink user terminals, which SpaceX Elon Musk has previously described as like a “UFO on a stick”, with a skyward-facing disk that measures 48cm, or 19 inches, in diameter.  

Musk has previously described the end-user terminals as being as easy to set up as “point at sky and just plug in”. 

Richard Hall, the emergency telecommunications leader of the Washington State Military Department’s IT division, appears to confirm Musk’s claim. 

“I have never set up any tactical satellite equipment that has been as quick to set up and anywhere near as reliable [as Starlink],” Hall told CNBC. 

Hall also suggested Starlink was superior to other satellite broadband services his unit has used previously. Starlink satellites orbit Earth at about an altitude of 500km, or 311 miles, far closer to Earth than traditional conventional satellite broadband services. 

According to Hall, Starlink offers double the bandwidth of other services and said he’d seen more than 150% decreases in latency. “I’ve seen lower than 30 millisecond latency consistently,” he said. 

That’s a pretty good third-party reference for Starlink, which has faced doubts from the Federal Communications Commission as to whether it can deliver round-trip latencies below the 50ms that it has claimed in an FCC application to launch 30,000 satellites. In

29
Sep
2020
Posted in internet

SpaceX Is Providing Satellite Internet Service to Towns Hit by Wildfires

(Credit: Washington Emergency Management)

Residents in Washington state recovering from the wildfires are remaining online, thanks to SpaceX’s satellite broadband network. 

The company’s Starlink system has been supplying the emergency internet to residents in Malden, a town of about 200 people, where an estimated 80 percent of the homes have been destroyed by the wildfires.

On Monday, Washington’s Emergency Management Department tweeted a photo of a Starlink satellite terminal acting as a public Wi-Fi hotspot. “Malden, WA is an area where fiber and most of the town burned down. Without this equipment, it would have been much harder for folks to get internet in that area,” the department added in a follow-up tweet.  

“SpaceX provided seven terminals for our agency to use for free, where we saw the most need,” the state’s Emergency Management Department told PCMag. Other Starlink terminals are supplying emergency broadband around Bonney Lake, Washington, where some local residents were also forced to evacuate due to the wildfires. 

“The terminals are being used for free public Wi-Fi, but we also used them for incident command vehicles out at the Bonney Lake, WA wildfire,” the department added. “SpaceX has not given us a timetable on when they need the equipment back. They’ve been pretty generous.”

The department declined to answer questions about the speed and latency rates for the emergency internet, and instead told PCMag to ask SpaceX. But according to CNBC, the latency rates have been reaching about 30 milliseconds, which is on par with ground-based internet. 

“I have never set up any tactical satellite equipment that has been as quick to set up, and anywhere near as reliable,” Washington State Military Department’s IT division head Richard Hall told CNBC in an interview. 

SpaceX didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. But CEO Elon

29
Sep
2020
Posted in internet

Elon Musk Helps Washington Town Destroyed by Wildfires by Supplying Starlink Internet for Free

A Washington town ravaged by wildfires this month has been supplied with an internet connection thanks to Elon Musk’s “Starlink” project.



Elon Musk wearing a suit and tie: Tesla head Elon Musk talks to the press as he arrives to to have a look at the construction site of the new Tesla Gigafactory near Berlin on September 03, 2020 near Gruenheide, Germany.


© Maja Hitij/Getty
Tesla head Elon Musk talks to the press as he arrives to to have a look at the construction site of the new Tesla Gigafactory near Berlin on September 03, 2020 near Gruenheide, Germany.

The state’s Emergency Management Division shared a photo of a SpaceX antenna on its Twitter profile yesterday—taking advantage of Musk’s in-progress satellite constellation, which has been pitched as way of providing high speed broadband across the globe.

SpaceX Is Trying To Launch 60 Starlink Internet Satellites Into Space

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Authorities indicated that it was supplied for first responders working to rebuild the small town of Malden. On September 8, police said 80 percent of the area, including homes and city government buildings, had been totally destroyed by flames.

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“Happy to have the support of @SpaceX‘s Starlink internet as emergency responders look to help residents rebuild the town of Malden, WA that was overcome by wildfires earlier this month,” WA Emergency Management wrote in a caption.

It added: “Malden is an area where fiber and most of the town burned down. Without this equipment, it would have been much harder for folks to get internet in that area.” In a later update, the account said that the equipment was provided for free.

In a tweet on Monday, SpaceX’s billionaire CEO Musk said he was “glad” to help and noted the project was now “prioritizing emergency responders and locations with no internet connectivity.”

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