SpaceX loses $900m Starlink subsidy

Originally published at: SpaceX loses $900m Starlink subsidy | Boing Boing


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And here I was hoping for fallout from when elon did an oopsies
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Cutting the internet for Ukrainian fighting forces because ‘you know better’ has consequences


Interesting, I don’t have starlink (I’m in an area with cable internet, and it is quite fast and more reliable then I had expected, especially during prolonged power outages).

My former boss^3 at my former employer did have starlink and during the height of covid used it for all his video conference needs, and according to him (and as observed by me during our video chats) it was just barely on the good side of marginal, but it was actually on the good side. The bandwidth was very good, the packet loss low, and the latency was the real issue. Queue “literally sky high” joke here although it was in the tens of ms not the 100s.

I was impressed, and if it wasn’t many $100s a month I would have signed up with it as a backup form of connectivity. As it turns out so far it would have been a waste since my cable is almost never out, and when it is cell towers so far have continued to work, and while it is only one bar of 5G from my office window it works ok. If the local tower goes down I get two bars of LTE from the next country to the north and that is pretty slow (maybe because two bars of LTE is slow, or maybe because roaming form dementing T-Mo to Canadian T-mo blows goats).

Anyway, too bad about all the cool tech stuff that Elon’s taint has infested and now rather then “fuck yeah spaceships that land on their tails!” and “big stainless steel water towers flying like a boss!” and “fancy sci-fi cars!” I’m more of a “why are Nazi’s always tangled up in the cool toys? Wasn’t tainting the moon landing enough‽”


I don’t think cluttering the sky and committing to thousands of launches on a rolling schedule which have really no chance of being profitable is a great thing. I assume they hoped that they would capture states and make it too essential to stop being supported. Endless subsidies funding endless consumption is always the fantasy of the tech bro.

Build municipal broadband. And in the context of this country, stop building one off houses in the arsehole of nowhere who then want motorways up to their door, broadband put in for them, and diesel subsidies for the long journeys they have committed to so they can have a McMansion on a normal salary (which will also be heated with fossil fuels. Subsidy please).

I’m tired of my taxes going to destroy the world. Just tired of it.


The FCC cited among its reasons SpaceX’s failure to successfully launch its Starship rocket, saying “the uncertain nature of Starship’s future launches could impact Starlink’s ability to meet” its obligations.

Smoking a rocket for 4/20 has consequences.

This seems a bit contrived. No one would use Starship to launch Starlink sats. Falcon works fine for that. I guess this one can be added to the “Because Musk is an idiot“ column.


why do you say that? wasnt that exactly what elno was proposing for its mark2 starlink?

Starlink has sent the first batch of its second-generation satellites into orbit today, but not the full-sized hardware CEO Elon Musk promised last year.

Instead of the seven-metre-long, 1.25 ton Starlink 2 orbiters Musk claimed wouldn’t be launched until the company’s Starship vessel managed to do more than explode on the launchpad

and thats actually all what “starship” would be “good” for; a super-heavy-lifter with a glorified space shuttle for LEO.


Yeah, I’m not too keen about billionaires cluttering up LEO with larger satellites without careful review.


There was a scene in a recent John Scalzi novel where the protagonist was trying to bluff a villain into believing they’d just sent a crucial transmission from a remote area. Trying to make it sound plausible they said something like “your buddy Elon probably has a dozen satellites overhead!”

The villain’s reaction was to act hurt by the implication Elon Musk was his friend.


While I don’t like the idea of Starlink, and Elon’s decision to cut access to Ukrainian forces at a critical juncture was horrendous, as far as I know it is currently the main way that Ukrainian forces still get Internet and are able to communicate on the battlefield. Is there a chance that this will jeopardize that?


”Starker! Dis is KAOS, Ve don’t Musk here!”



If he was smart* he’d take this as a warning that he’d better stop fucking around with service In Ukraine if he doesn’t want to lose what contracts he has left.

*He is not.


me neither, but thats not

No one would use Starship to launch Starlink sats

because this “no one” is musk. he will do it if his fever dream “starship” ever “works”.

e/ oh, just checked; this whole “spacex-loses-billon-subsidy” means absolutly jackshit;



I could see the writing on the wall when Musk turned of Starlink for Ukraine at one point. Pretty sure the government is going to be doing their own thing soon or fund someone else to do it.

As for rural internet, just run lines out like we do for phone and power. Yes, it is pricey, but it is a long term investment on infrastructure.

Ditto. Also, with more users on the platform, it is going to make speeds and service worse (unless they keep putting up more satellites. I think there is a niche use for something like this, but I don’t think it should be a broad platform that a lot of people use.


Based on the figures for the first three months of 2023, it looks like Starlink is just about scraping into profit.

Turnover is about $1.2 billion for the past year - which is (and this might surprise you) a bit lower than predicted - in 2015 investors were told it would be producing $12 billion in revenue and $7 billion in operating profit in 2022.


I wonder if these subsidies come with attached contractual clauses related to morality, foreign ownership, foreign influence, transparency, etc.


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It’s my primary internet (I travel full time and used it all across the US). It’s more reliable (assuming visibility) and comparably fast to what I had at home from Comcast prior. It improved significantly from mid-2022 through now.


if it wasn’t many $100s a month

I know they keep changing the plans around, but mine is still grandfathered in at $90/month + $25 for portability. Today it’s $120/month for stationary and $150/month for mobile use for new subscribers.


Speaking in a Canadian context, Starlink may be the best/only option for the rural Arctic. We’ve been pouring billions into the fucking Robelus oligopoly and they might as well be burning the money for fuel for all the benefit we’ve really seen from it.

Starlink is a foreign company that’s doing more for Canadian rural internet than any of those corporate looters have ever done. They deserve the funding, and they provide good value for it. Nobody outside astronomers really gives much of a crap about satellite light pollution - and it’s a problem with its own solution. Cheap launch costs will enable mass-production of cheap telescopes, long-term.

Musk is an asshole, but SpaceX is doing amazing work.