Satellites and the internet

 

Sir, – Chris Horn (“Can satellite swarms save the internet?”, Business Opinion, January 16th) highlighted the potential of low-Earth orbit satellite constellations to create a celestial version of the internet which could frustrate attempts at governmental censorship. Your columnist also speculated that by the end of this decade mobile devices could be communicating via satellites, rather than exclusively via terrestrial towers.

Against this background, it is hard to understand how and why the State is sinking about €2.5 billion of taxpayers’ money in an exclusively fibre-based National Broadband Plan (NBP) which won’t be completed for several years. Having unsuccessfully pitched a “Plan B for NBP” utilising next-generation satellites to help deliver high-speed broadband for rural Ireland to Oireachtas Committees, government departments and Ministers, I am encouraged, but alarmed as a taxpayer, to see that organisations such as SpaceX, One Web, Amazon and Eutelsat are all making huge strides towards offering such services globally.

For example, SpaceX expects to offer an initial service across the US later this year and could be offering services to rural Ireland a year or two later once it has placed thousands of satellites in orbit at zero cost to the Irish exchequer. – Yours, etc,

BRIAN FLANAGAN,

Blackrock, Co Dublin.