SpaceX is deploying the ‘world’s most advanced broadband internet system’. Starlink will be a constellation of over 12,000 satellites beaming service all over the globe. SpaceX already operates the largest satellite constellation in low Earth orbit. The most recent launch increased the constellation size to around 1,560 satellites in space. The company is already beaming its service to customers in the United States and abroad. SpaceX shared during Tuesday’s 26th Starlink mission that “over half a million” customers pre-ordered the Starlink internet service through its website, Starlink.com. “To date, over half a million people have placed an order or put down a deposit for Starlink,” SpaceX operations engineer Siva Bharadvaj said during the Live broadcast of the Starlink launch on May 4th. “With every launch, we get closer to connecting more people across the world,” he said. Read more: 'Liftoff! May The Force Be With Us'–SpaceX Falcon 9 Launches A Ninth Time During Starlink Mission
SpaceX’s is primarily focused on providing reliable, high-speed internet to rural and remote communities. SpaceX founder Elon Musk said that all the customers who pre-ordered the service will receive access –“Only limitation is high density of users in urban areas. Most likely, all of the initial 500k will receive service,” he said, “More of a challenge when we get into the several million user range.”
Only limitation is high density of users in urban areas. Most likely, all of the initial 500k will receive service. More of a challenge when we get into the several million user range.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 4, 2021
SpaceX already has authorization from the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to operate 1 million Starlink dish user antennas. The company submitted a new request to increase the number of U.S. user terminals to 5 million due to ‘extraordinary demand.’ The Starlink dish and equipment to connect to the network is priced at $499 USD. The company is already providing Starlink beta service to a limited amount of users per region in the U.S. and abroad. The $99-per-month Starlink service is expected to be available across the U.S. before this year ends. Musk said in February that “most of Earth” will have broadband coverage “by end of year, all by next year, then it’s about densifying coverage,” he stated. Starlink users currently experience data speeds varying from 50Mbps to 150Mbps (megabits per second) and latency from 20ms to 40ms (milliseconds). “Speed will double to ~300Mbps & latency will drop to ~20ms [milliseconds] later this year,” Musk said. Latency is the amount of delay it takes for data to travel to and from its destination. The internet speed will increase gradually as more satellites are launched to low Earth orbit. A few Starlink users have shared via social media that they already experienced high-speed internet ranging from 200Mbps to 400Mbps!
However, these speeds are likely to keep on changing because during the Starlink beta phase SpaceX is still working towards improving the network’s capabilities. The company still has “a lot of work to do to make the network reliable," SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said last month during the Satellite 2021 LEO Digital Forum, adding that they do not “have a timeframe for getting out of the beta phase.” 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 price for internet connection.
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.