Individuals who signed-up to beta test SpaceX’s Starlink broadband internet have been sharing their experience with the network for the past couple of months. The majority are happy with the high-speed internet the Starlink satellites provide. To date, the company operates roughly 960 internet-beaming satellites in low Earth orbit, out of over 4,000 that will be part of the network. To connect to the broadband service, customers receive a Starlink Kit valued at $499 USD. SpaceX priced its service at $99 per month. SpaceX engineers recently shared the network currently does not have restrictive data caps. The Starlink Kit includes a pizza-sized, phased-array antenna dish terminal that the company calls “Dishy McFlatface,” and a Wi-Fi router device. The dish features technology more advanced than what is currently on fighter jets, according to SpaceX.
SpaceX is selecting its beta customers based on where they are located. The satellites that are operational at the moment are beaming signals to areas on Earth located in high-latitudes. During a Reddit ‘Ask Me Anything’ discussion, SpaceX engineers shared the company plans to rollout a wider Starlink Public Beta service in January. As more satellites are deployed to orbit, the network will be capable to beam signal to the rest of the United States and Canada. --"Steadily increasing network access overtime to bring in as many people as possible," the SpaceX engineer stated, "Notably we're planning to move from a limited beta to a wider beta in late January, should give more users an opportunity to participate." To potentially be invited to become a Beta tester of the Starlink network you can sign up via Starlink.com.
Brett Batie is Starlink Beta tester who lives in a rural area in northern Idaho. He shared a detailed installation video of the Starlink Kit and service setup via YouTube. He uploaded a 20-minute video that features a Starlink Kit unboxing, internet speed test, and a full installation on a roof top, he even drilled a hole in the wall (like a Pro) to run cables through. Batie says that the only service that is available in the remote area he lives in is ‘Verizon,’ which provides him with 'very limited' internet. –“I’m happy to try something new that might be a little bit faster,” he said. In the video he shares how Dishy McFlatface uses its motors to find an optimal view of the sky, and performed a speed test right out the box. “…Oh! That’s great! Feels like I’m in the city and I’m not - out in the sticks!” Batie said as he saw the speed test. Starlink offered high-speed broadband internet with low-latency of 27 milliseconds. "I’m super happy about that." You can watch his full YouTube video linked below.
Batie also shared his experience using Starlink while it snows in a new YouTube video. He says the Starlink dish deals with snow very well and showed it did not have snow stacked above it, only droplets. According to engineers the dish features heating capabilities that enable it to maintain a stable temperature in order to work optimally. In the video, Batie performs multiple Starlink internet speed tests to see how well the service works in the snow. –“…There is really nothing that compares to Starlink in the area that I am in,” he says as he runs the speed tests. He performed the speed tests using three different online tools, each detected Starlink latency speeds ranging between 20 to 45 milliseconds, download rate between 40 to 107 megabits per second, and upload speeds between 13 and 16 megabits per second. "...This is really good speeds given snow conditions [...]," he says. –“Ive been very happy with Starlink internet at this point." Watch the multiple speed tests he performed in the video below.
Featured Image Source: Brett Batie via YouTube
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.