Elon Musk selects Kerry for satellite broadband project

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Noted for being one of the last places in mainland Ireland to be connected to electricity and telephone networks, the remote region of The Black Valley in Co Kerry is set to be the first location for a new global broadband system.

Tech billionaire Elon Musk is funding the project, creating a network of thousands of satellites to form a new global broadband system.

Starlink is Musk’s low-latency broadband operator, which uses satellites launched by Musk’s space company, SpaceX.

According to the company, Starlink satellites are more than 60 times closer to Earth than traditional satellites, resulting in lower latency and the ability to support services typically not possible with traditional satellite internet.

Due to its remote location, The Black Valley has often been among the last locations to enjoy the benefits of cutting-edge technology and connectivity.

Almost one third of all Kerry premises have no access to high-speed broadband, a meeting of Kerry County Council was told last week. However, this makes it an ideal location to take part in Musk’s pilot project.

“Starlink is ideally suited for areas of the globe where connectivity has typically been a challenge,” the company said.

“Unbounded by traditional ground infrastructure, Starlink can deliver high-speed broadband internet to locations where access has been unreliable or completely unavailable.”

The pilot project will see the installation of antennae in the MacGillycuddy Reeks and is due to begin in the coming weeks.

According to The Irish Times, the billionaire’s corporation approached the Department of Rural and Community Development late last year and a strict non-disclosure agreement between the Starlink company and Kerry County Council was reached in December.

Starlink currently promises speeds between 50Mbps and 150Mbps. However, Musk said in a tweet yesterday (22 February) that speeds will double later this year.

The initial pilot link in Co Kerry is likely to involve a single household.

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