Yesterday saw Elon Musk’s SpaceX strike a deal with Google Cloud to use its Starlink constellation to deliver data, cloud services, and applications to customers at the network edge
Last week saw SpaceX launch its latest batch of 60 low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites into orbit, join around 14,000 Starlink others currently circling the globe. This is just the beginning, however, with Musk ultimately planning around 30,000 satellites for the Starlink constellation to provide internet connectivity to customers worldwide. Preorders for the service are already being taken in a number of markets, with reports suggesting that Starlink is anticipating one million subscribers in Europe by the end of the year.
Now, SpaceX has made a strategic partnership with Google Cloud that will see Starlink terminals placed within Google Cloud data centres around the world. The deal will allow Starlink customers fast and secure internet services via Google Cloud, with commercial services expected to be available to customers by the end of 2021.
The companies suggest that the partnership will help organisations with broad footprints, like public sector agencies, businesses with presences at the network edge, or those operating in rural or remote areas, which often require access to applications running in the cloud, or to cloud services like analytics, artificial intelligence, or machine learning.
"Applications and services running in the cloud can be transformative for organizations, whether they’re operating in a highly networked or remote environment," said Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President, Infrastructure at Google Cloud.
This is not the first time Starlink has partnered with a cloud services giant, in fact signing a similar deal with Microsoft Azure back in October last year. Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure will reportedly co-exist within Starlink’s framework,“co-selling to our mutual customers, co-selling to new pursuit and future customers”, explained SpaceX president and COO Gwynne Shotwell.
Ultimately, these cloud deals follow a trend we are seeing throughout the telecoms industry, with operators increasingly opting to partner with public cloud giants to harness their scale and expertise.
For now, Starlink is the largest satellite internet constellation in orbit and can enjoy something of a privileged position within the market. However, Amazon’s upcoming Project Kuiper is soon set to launch around 3,000 satellites in almost direct competition to Starlink. These Kuiper satellites would, naturally, be partnered with Amazon Web Services for their cloud-related needs.
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