Drone Pilot SchoolFrom satellites to drones, tests continue on ways to spread broadband

August 16, 2021by helo-10

New technologies could help bridge the digital divide in sparsely populated places where it can cost $30,000 a mile to deploy fiber cable for just a few customers.

Jonathan Sharp has been a beta tester for one of them, Starlink, from his home in Wisconsin’s Northwoods.

Starlink is an effort by SpaceX founder Elon Musk to deliver broadband to rural America via thousands of satellites in orbit closer to the Earth than conventional satellites. Last December, Musk was awarded $886 million from the federal Rural Digital Opportunity Fund to get service to nearly 643,000 locations in 35 states. 

Sharp said he’s gotten speeds comparable to living in a city, a major improvement from conventional satellite service that’s been part of the rural landscape for decades and has often been labeled unreliable and expensive. 

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