By Sean Moriarty
Installation of Elon Musk’s Starlink Internet service in the Black Valley could begin as early as next week, and the project could be operational within a month, the Killarney Advertiser has learned. Starlink is SpaceX’s plan to build an interconnected Internet network with thousands of satellites, designed to deliver high-speed Internet to anywhere on the planet.
The network is an ambitious endeavour, which SpaceX has said will cost about $10 billion or more to build.
In February, the Killarney Advertiser reported that The Black Valley – one of the last places in Ireland to get electricity and telephone connections – could be one of the first in the world to get a satellite based broadband Internet connection – thanks to interest from the Tesla electric car founder and tech-billionaire Musk.
Since the initial report, Kerry County Council has been working behind the scenes to bring this ambitious project to a reality.
The project has been pushed by Mayor of Kerry, Patrick Connor-Scarteen. The Black Valley is situated in his elected municipal district area.
A team, led by Killarney man Brian Looney, the Council’s head of IT, has been meeting with various stakeholders.
These include online meetings with a Community Group in the valley and with telecom providers like EIR and the ESB.
Council officials have also conducted an “on-the-ground assessment of telecommunications information” with locals and providers to assess a suitable location for the satellite receiving equipment.
A pilot scheme to connect the service to a number of properties is close to being signed off, the Killarney Advertiser understands. It is hoped that existing infrastructure owned by EIR and ESB can be used to achieve this.
“We expect delivery of the initial kit to commence in the next week and it is hoped to start providing a service shortly afterwards,” a Kerry County Council official told a recent online meeting of elected representatives from the Kenmare Municipal District.