FONOM voices support Starlink for satellite internet services

NORTHERN ONTARIO – The Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) passed a resolution at a recent board meeting in support of Starlink, a satellite internet service being developed by Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX). SpaceX is the company founded by US-based innovator Elon Musk. In doing so, FONOM joins other Northern Ontario stakeholders calling for better access to high-speed internet.

“We know today our citizens require greater connectivity than 50/10 megabits per second,” said FONOM president Danny Whalen in a release. “FONOM believes that the Starlink program is our best option.” 

The FONOM board adopted a resolution at meeting held in Hearst, held simultaneously through electronic and in-person formats, supporting Starlink, a satellite internet service that’s being developed by SpaceX. The resolution also calls on the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to permit and expand the company a basic international telecommunications services licence.

Blue Sky Net released a report earlier this year which indicated the average download speed of participants in a study of Northern Ontario internet users was just below nine megabits per second (Mbps) and the average upload speed was just above five Mbps.

However, for the average user that requires fast internet speeds for business and education for example, download speeds of 50 Mbps and upload speeds of 10 Mbps are required as the bare minimum to participate in those activities.

In 2018, the CRTC set a new target to have 90 percent of Canadian households with services that deliver download speeds of 50 Mbps and upload speeds of 10 Mbps by 2021. 

The Starlink website points out the company is aiming to deliver high-speed broadband internet via satellite to locations where access has been unreliable, expensive, or completely unavailable. The company is targeting the northern US and Canada for an initial release in 2020 and has plans to reach “near global coverage” in 2021.

FONOM said it would also seek support from its partners for the Starlink program.