Elon Musk.
Elon Musk.

  • Elon Musk said Starlink would likely need between $20 billion (R286 billion) and $30 billion (R430 billion) in investment.
  • Starlink is SpaceX's internet satellite project, which aims to beam broadband to remote areas.
  • "If we succeed in not going bankrupt, then that'll be great, and we can move on from there," Musk said.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Elon Musk's constellation of internet satellites, Starlink, will need up to $30 billion (R430 billion) in funding to survive, the billionaire said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the Barcelona Mobile World Congress tech conference via video link, the SpaceX CEO said the projections for Starlink's business costs were estimated between $20 billion (R286 billion) and $30 billion (R430 billion), Reuters reported.

During the same conference, Musk said the company was losing money on its Starlink terminals, which allow users to receive the broadband that the satellites already in orbit are beaming down.

According to Musk, the terminals cost $1,000 (R14,000) to make and the company sells them for $500 (R7,000) - plus a $99 (R1,400) monthly subscription. The company will soon release a new model of its terminal which will be cheaper to make, he said.

Musk also said Starlink had signed partnerships with two "major country telcos," but did not disclose their names. Musk tweeted last week that Starlink had 69,420 active users.

"If we succeed in not going bankrupt, then that'll be great, and we can move on from there," Musk said, per Reuters. Musk has said in the past that avoiding bankruptcy was the biggest challenge facing any high-speed internet satellite company.

Starlink is part of Musk's space exploration company SpaceX. Its aim is to provide high-speed broadband to remote parts of the world using a fleet of satellites. As of May 2021, there were almost 1,500 satellites in orbit, per Space News. Musk has said he wants to launch a total of 42,000 satellites.

SpaceX's president Gwynne Shotwell said earlier this month Starlink could provide global coverage by September 2021 - though Musk said during Tuesday's conference that this could be achieved a month earlier, in August.

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