SpaceX is extending the beta test of its Starlink satellite internet service, according to emails sent to people who have expressed interest in subscribing to the service.
The test, called “Better Than Nothing Beta”, announces a price for initial Starlink services. And it’s not cheap at all.
“As you can see from the title, we are trying to reduce your initial expectations. You can expect to see data speeds range from 50 Mb / s to 150 Mb / s and a latency of 20 ms to 40 ms over the next few months as we improve the Starlink system. There will also be short periods, completely without connectivity. “
How much does SpaceX’s internet services cost?
Emails sent to an unspecified number of users mark launch of the public beta test of SpaceX for the emerging internet service.
In the past few months, SpaceX has conducted a limited beta test on employees – which the company said has shown strong results in both latency and download speed, key measures for an ISP.
Those who received the emails allegedly filled in a form on the Starlink website, requesting contact information and the location of potential subscribers. Elon Musk’s company posted the form in June, and less than two months later, SpaceX said “nearly 700,000 people” in the United States have expressed interest in the service.
The emails mentioned that the subscription includes a $ 99 monthly fee, plus an initial cost of $ 499 to order the Starlink kit.
This kit includes a user terminal for connecting to satellites, a mounting tripod and a Wi-Fi router. There is also a Starlink app listed by SpaceX on the Google Play and Apple iOS app stores.
Global speed internet, but not yet
Starlink is SpaceX’s plan to build an interconnected internet network with thousands of satellites, designed to provide high-speed internet anywhere on the planet. The network is an ambitious effort, which SpaceX said will cost about $ 10 billion or more to build.
To date, SpaceX has launched nearly 900 Starlink satellites – a fraction of the total needed for global coverage, but enough to start providing services in some areas.
The company has already started collaborating with several organizations in rural areas that Starlink satellites currently cover, such as Washington.
“Under the Better Than Nothing Beta testing program, the initial service is intended for the US and Canada in 2020, rapidly expanding to near-global coverage of the populated world by 2021,” according to the Starlink mobile app description.