A big revolution in the Greek telecommunications market is coming at the beginning of 2021 by American business magnate, Elon Musk.
According to SpaceX, Musk’s aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company, “fast satellite internet will be brought to everyone in Greece, and the coverage of all Greek territories by the satellites of the Starlink program of SpaceX is expected to be completed within the first quarter of 2021.”
The SpaceX and Starlink Project executives are already in contact with both the National Telecommunications and Post Commission of Greece, as well as the Greek Ministry of Digital Government, in order to obtain the necessary licensing and start the process of replacing the old internet providers.
This big change in Greek telecommunications is also important for scientists, engineers, computer programmers and many more professionals in Greece, as many new and promising job opportunities with Musk's SpaceX are coming to the country.
SpaceX, NASA’s largest partner and aircraft supplier, reports that “the entry of Starlink in the market of internet connection services is expected to cause a great shock in the Greek telecommunications market, and even though we project that it will be priced somewhat more expensive – estimated at about 20% more expensive than current internet providers – it will provide 100% coverage of the Greek territory and will bring speeds that reach up to 150 Mbps.”
What does the Internet Mbps speed mean?
The current internet speed in Greece ranges between 5-50 Mbps (Megabits per second), with 15 Mbps being the average internet speed per household in the country. This specifically means that internet users with such a speed in Mbps are able to enjoy various online activities that combined together reach up to 50 Mbps.
For example, playing online games (10 Mbps), watching YouTube videos (5 Mbps), messaging on Facebook on another device (5 Mbps) and downloading a movie (10 Mbps), all together would require at least 30 Mbps, so that browsers are working at a fast pace, pages are loading rapidly, and all internet activities run smoothly.
The SpaceX satellite internet of 150 Mbps – the fastest in the telecommunications market – would allow Greek internet users to enjoy multiple online activities at the same time, from numerous devices, with extremely fast downloading and online gaming speeds, the highest quality 4K and 3D videos and many more.
Given that most of the country remains ‘hostage’ to outdated infrastructure and therefore low speeds, even in Athens, the impact of SpaceX’s latest internet technology will be grand for the communications in Greece and the way businesses operate.
The move by Musk to bring Starlink to Greece, will place the country at the top of the list of countries with the fastest internet in the world, next to South Korea (which holds the first spot), followed by Norway, Singapore and Canada, while the US holds the 11th position, the UK the 14th, and Australia the 43rd position. Greece currently holds the 54th spot in the list of countries with fastest internet in the world.
SpaceX will provide users in Greece with satellite dishes – similar to those of satellite TVs – which will allow them to connect to Starlink satellites in space.
Then in turn, the Starlink satellites will connect to a ground station in Greece, which will supply the entire country with internet. These ground stations, which are technically the backbone of the global internet and can be found in several countries across the world, are expected to be located either in Nemea or in Thermopylae, Greece.
There are currently more than 800 Starlink satellites in orbit right now, all of which serve the US and Canada, with several European countries, including Greece, about to join SpaceX’s satellite internet in 2021.
More precisely, Starlink is a satellite system built by SpaceX to provide satellite internet and the provision of high-speed broadband services. The entire SpaceX system consists of thousands of small satellites in low earth orbit, which work in combination with ground transceivers (ground stations).
The development of Musk's Starlink began in 2015, with the first two test satellites being launched into orbit in February 2018.
A second pair of test satellites were sent to space in 2019, and the first massive satellite launch took place in May 2019, where 60 operating satellites were launched into orbit at once. The plans, designs and development of the Starlink project by SpaceX took about 10 years and cost more than 10 billion USD.
Since the beginning of 2020, Musk through SpaceX has been able to send to space 60 satellites at a time, and it is planning to build a total of 1,584 satellites to provide global internet by the end of 2022.
In 2020, it was reported by ELSTAT that eight out of ten households in Greece have access to the internet from their home (80.4%), which shows a significant increase from 2010, where 73.3% of households used internet.
This number is expected to grow by 2025 and cover the vast majority of remote villages and rural areas in Greece.
It was also reported that there are at least two laptop/desktop devices and three to four smartphones on average in a Greek household. These numbers place Greece within the top 50 countries with biggest internet access and within the top 30 of countries with most internet-connectable devices per household.
Musk, founder of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, is one of the many business moguls that decided to start new projects in Greece in 2020, following Microsoft and Pfizer, among other large corporations.
SpaceX claims that the Starlink satellite internet in Greece will achieve the highest possible, at the moment, connection speeds, which are over three times faster than the maximum internet speeds given by existing providers in many areas in Greece, even in Attica.
Musk's Starlink team is currently in the process of constructing the necessary infrastructure in Greece, as well as fibre optics and ground satellite receiver stations, with plans to launch the new satellite internet in the country by April 2021.