In context: SpaceX has its hands in a lot of cookie jars at the moment. The company builds and launches rockets, it creates functioning flamethrowers, and more recently, it's begun to launch a satellite-based internet service known as "Starlink." Starlink still has a ways to go before it becomes commercially available, but SpaceX CEO Elon Musk shared some additional details about the service during a conference yesterday.
For starters, Musk made a pretty ambitious claim about Starlink's real-world performance -- he said that, in rural areas, the latency should be below 20 milliseconds. According to the CEO, that would be enough for "fast-response" gaming at a competitive level, which isn't too far off from the truth, though many pro gamers would argue that sub-10ms latency is ideal).
However, for underserved rural gamers, 20ms is likely to be more than adequate for their needs. As far as bandwidth goes, Musk was less willing to go into details, but he did say that you'll be able to "watch high-def movies," play games and do "all the things" you want to do without noticing speed. In other words, it should be good enough for the average user, especially if that person hasn't been exposed to high-speed internet yet.
Musk went on to note that Starlink won't be ideal for everyone. If you already have, say, a gigabit connection from AT&T, Google, or a local provider, Starlink certainly won't be able to compete. Indeed, competition isn't even Musk's goal -- he says Starlink is intended to serve citizens that aren't being reached anyway, so the service won't be a "huge threat" to other ISPs.
As a matter of fact, Musk feels Starlink will benefit other telecommunications firms, because it will serve the "3 or 4 percent hardest-to-reach" customers, as well as those who "simply have no connectivity" right now. By appealing to those customers, Musk feels a "significant load" will be taken off of other ISPs.
Whether or not those companies will agree with Musk's assessment remains to be seen. Nonetheless, for the sake of those without access to reliable internet, we hope Starlink's gambit pays off.