Capitalism in space: SpaceX’s Starlink internet service has now begun providing its service in the United Kingdom, following approval by the government there.
Because the British government is now also an owner of Starlink’s direct competitor, OneWeb, this creates an interesting conflict of interest that fortunately has so far not impeded SpaceX. We shall have to see whether this changes with time.
Meanwhile, in Russia a similar conflict of interest has resulted in some government action against Starlink.
Russia’s legislative body, the State Duma, is considering fines for individuals and companies in the country that use Western-based satellite Internet services. The proposed law seeks to prevent accessing the Internet by means of SpaceX’s Starlink service, OneWeb, or other non-Russian satellite constellations under development.
…In the Russian-language article, translated for Ars by Robinson Mitchell, members of the Duma assert that accessing the Internet independently would bypass the country’s System of Operational Search Measures, which monitors Internet use and mobile communications. As part of the country’s tight control on media and communications, all Russian Internet traffic must pass through a Russian communications provider.
It is not surprising that Russia would take steps to block Starlink service—the country’s space chief, Dmitry Rogozin, views ...