Elon Musk’s space internet gives Native American tribe access to high-speed broadband for first time

A remote Native American tribe is among the first users of Elon Musk’s Starlink space internet project after it connected to SpaceX’s constellation of satellites.



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The Hoh Tribe in Washington State said Starlink’s high-speed broadband enabled remote learning and telehealth appointments during the coronavirus pandemic for the first time. 

“We’re very remote. The last eight years I felt like we’ve been paddling up river with a spoon and almost getting nowhere with getting internet to the reservation,” said Melvinjohn Ashue, vice chairman of the Hoh Tribe.

“It seemed like out of nowhere, SpaceX came up and just catapulted us into the 21st century.”

There are currently around 800 Starlink satellites in low-Earth orbit, offering internet connectivity to northern areas of the US and Canada. SpaceX eventually plans to launch tens of thousands more satellites to provide “near global coverage of the populated world by 2021”.

The Hoh Tribe were introduced to Starlink through the Washington State Department of Commerce, which sits within the current reach of the Starlink network.

It is one of several early testers of Starlink , with emergency responders in Washington State also recently using the network to set up a WiFi hotspot for residents of Malden after 80 per cent of the town was destroyed by wildfires.

The Hoh Tribe revealed that internet speeds prior to  Starlink ranged from between 0.3 and 0.7 megabits per second (Mbps) – a long way off the 100Mbps advertised by SpaceX.

Responding to a tweet from the

SpaceX Starlink Internet ‘Catapulted Us Into the 21st Century,’ Native American Tribe Says

A Native American tribe in a remote part of Washington has been “catapulted into the 21st century” after getting SpaceX’s Starlink internet.

SpaceX Is Trying To Launch 60 Starlink Internet Satellites Into Space

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The Hoh Tribe, which is based on the Pacific coast, roughly 23 miles south of the town of Forks, said on Twitter this week it was now receiving a high-speed connection from the constellation of satellites blasted into orbit by Elon Musk’s company.

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“What a difference high-speed internet can make. Our children can participate in remote learning, residents can access healthcare. We felt like we’d been paddling up-river with a spoon… SpaceX Starlink made it happen overnight,” it tweeted Wednesday.

Starlink is an ongoing SpaceX project creating a global network of satellites capable of beaming broadband internet to areas with unreliable or unavailable access.

Earlier this week, as the company shot 60 more satellites into space onboard a Falcon 9 rocket, Musk teased tests in the U.S. and Canada were closer than ever. The company said “near-global coverage of the populated world” could be reached by 2021.

While not for the wider public, some trials have begun. Responding to the Hoh tribe’s tweet this week, the billionaire SpaceX boss wrote back: “You’re most welcome!”

It remains unclear what speed the tribe was now receiving from Starlink, but it revealed in a separate tweet that its previous capacity had been between 0.3 and 0.7 megabits per second (Mbps). For context, SpaceX has previously said its Starlink tests showed “super low latency and download speeds greater than 100 Mbps,” which is enough to “stream multiple HD movies at once and still have bandwidth to spare.”

The director of the Washington Department of