Millions around the world still lack access to reliable internet service. In an effort to connect remote and rural communities to reliable internet, SpaceX is actively launching Starlink satellites to connect users globally. With approximately 1,145 satellites already in low earth orbit, SpaceX started to accept pre-orders of the broadband service via Starlink.com. The company recently told the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) it has around 10,000 users (and counting) in the U.S and abroad, including in Canada and regions in the United Kingdom. The founder of SpaceX Elon Musk said most of the world will have broadband coverage soon –“Most of Earth by end of year, all by next year, then it’s about densifying coverage,” he shared via Twitter on February 22.
A PCMag report states where SpaceX’s Starlink internet is active in the United States for the past three months. They obtained data from Ookla Speedtest and compiled it in a map which shows the states that have at least thirty Starlink customers or more, pictured below. Some regions on the map include: Washington state, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Maine, and Vermont. The company also uses Starlink broadband service at their SpaceX headquarters in California. SpaceX has permission to operate 1 million Starlink dish user antennas for customers in the U.S. and is requesting to operate an additional 5 million due to "extraordinary demand," according to an FCC filing.
Map Source: PCMag.com
SpaceX’s Starlink broadband internet does not impose restrictive data caps, users are currently obtaining download speeds ranging from 50 Mb/s to 150 Mb/s [megabits per second] and latency from 20 ms to 40 ms [milliseconds]. Latency is the amount of delay it takes for data to travel to and from its destination. Ookla Speedtest reports some users are experiencing high-speed broadband speeds up to 170 Mb/s. –“Speed will double to ~300Mb/s and latency will drop to ~20ms later this year,” Musk said last week. For perspective, established satellite internet providers HughesNet and Viasat currently offer download speeds from 10 Mb/s to 25 Mb/s, and latency of around 590 ms to 625 ms. Starlink is providing a significant improvement because it features advanced technology and the satellites operate at a lower altitude above Earth. The company told the FCC it targets to increase Starlink’s data download rate to 1,000 Mb/s or 10 Gb/s (gigabits per second) in the future.
The network’s speed will increase gradually as more satellites are launched. The next Starlink mission will be tonight, Sunday, February 28. A seven-times-flown Falcon 9 rocket will liftoff for its eighth flight from Florida’s coast to launch a fleet of 60 Starlink satellites that will increase the broadband constellation size to around 1,205 satellites operating in low Earth orbit. Company officials state that once there’s around 1,440 satellites in orbit, Starlink will be capable of providing ‘moderate near-global’ internet coverage. You can watch tonight’s Starlink satellite deployment Live in the video below starting at 8:37p.m. EST.
WATCH IT LIVE!
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.