Future is now: SpaceX begins public beta testing of Starlink constellation at $99 a month
I am happy to share with you this news, a public beta testing of Starlink was started. That means, in the coming future we might use an internet that is provided directly from Space. On 26 October, SpaceX invited some early users to join public beta testing of its Starlink program, which aims to provide global internet coverage from space. To join the beta test, called “Better Than Nothing Beta”, users must purchase all of the Starlink ground equipment for $499 and then pay a $99 monthly fee for active service. Incredible news!
What are the expectations from the Starlink system: “Expect to see data speeds vary from 50Mb/s to 150Mb/s and latency from 20ms to 40ms over the next several months as we enhance the Starlink system. There will also be brief periods of no connectivity at all.” SpaceX claims that latency and data speeds will improve as the company launches more satellites and installs more ground stations to receive signals from the satellites. The company also notes it will continue to update its networking software and expects latency to decrease to between 16ms and 19ms by 2021. These are also good news for us, too. 12 000 satellites are launching into low orbits over Earth to beam continuous broadband internet services to the ground below.
Users will need to purchase one of SpaceX’s user terminals to connect to the system, CEO Elon Musk has described it as resembling a “UFO on a stick”.
Earlier, during the private beta testing, there was a strict policy, which says “You may NOT discuss your participation in the Beta Program online or with those outside of your household unless they are SpaceX employees.”. Despite the secrecy, the public got some rumors of the system’s test speeds. Early Starlink tests done through Ookla showed average data speeds between 11 Mbps and 60 Mbps. With the latest news about the public testing, we guess that there will be rather more information on the SpaceX and Starlink launched programs and systems. We hope so!