SpaceX is working towards creating ‘the world’s most advanced’ satellite internet infrastructure. The company’s Starlink broadband network consists of surrounding Earth with over 12,000 satellites to beam internet connection to customers worldwide. The company has deployed approximately 1,385 satellites to date. These satellites currently provide beta service to a limited amount of customers in the United States and abroad. The service is priced at $99 USD per month, plus the one time purchase of the $499 USD Starlink dish antenna to receive connection from the satellites in space.
During the Starlink beta phase SpaceX is working towards improving the network’s capabilities and does not “have a timeframe for getting out of the beta phase.” The company still has “a lot of work to do to make the network reliable,” SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said on Tuesday during the Satellite 2021 LEO Digital Forum, according to CNBC news report. Regarding the Starlink dish user terminal, Shotwell shared that the company has “made great progress on reducing the cost.” Initially. Each dish would cost SpaceX $3,000 to manufacture, Shotwell said they reduced the cost to a bit less than $1,500. SpaceX is actually losing money by selling the phased-array dish antenna at less than half of what the company spent per unit. The company wanted to make the service accessible to the average income household.
SpaceX aims to connect rural communities in the United States and expects “to serve every rural household in the United States” that’s “roughly 60 million people,” Shotwell said. Most internet service providers impose different data plans, featuring data caps varying from low-to-high price. Regarding service pricing, Shotwell said that the company has no plans to set varying price data plans for the Starlink internet service. –“I don’t think we’re going to do tiered pricing to consumers. We’re going to try to keep it as simple as possible and transparent as possible, so, right now there are no plans to tier for consumers,” Shotwell said. The Starlink service currently does not impose data caps, users across the world pay the same $99 USD fee for download speeds ranging from 50Mbps to 150Mbps (megabits per second) and latency from 20ms to 40ms (milliseconds). Long-term, SpaceX founder Elon Musk said they aim to increase download speeds to around 300Mbps. Some Starlink beta users recently experienced speeds up to 400Mbps, as engineers introduced a firmware update a couple of weeks ago. However, it will take more satellites in orbit to maintain a stable high-speed internet connection for thousands of customers.
SpaceX Starlink Beta Users Report High-Speed Internet Of 400Mbpshttps://t.co/VEDLGtkk3u— Tesmanian.com (@Tesmanian_com) March 18, 2021
Featured Image Source: SpaceX
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.