Allen Township, a suburb of Marysville, Ohio will host a pilot of SpaceX’s Starlink satellite broadband system, making it the latest Starlink satellite broadband trial customer — a small but growing group.
The pilot trial is the largest in the Midwest, according to JobsOhio. It will link Starlink to 90 households and about 10 small businesses in partnership with InnovateOhio, BroadbandOhio, the City of Marysville and Union county economic leaders in addition to JobsOhio. The announcement was made by Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted.
The Starlink trial is expected to start during the first quarter of 2021 and run for a year. Participants, who will formally be notified of their inclusion closer to the start, will not be charged for service during the pilot.
“In the past few months we have actively pursued a demonstration project with Starlink to determine if this new technology strategy can lead to high speed internet accessibility for everyone in our state,” Husted said in a press release about the new SpaceX customer. “We will continue to work with the private sector and our partners in the legislature, and in coordination with those on the federal level, to tackle this issue.”
Last week, the FCC said that Space Exploration Technologies Corp. – SpaceX — won $885.5 million for 642,000 locations in 35 states in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction.
Last month, SpaceX said that the current beta participants are seeing speeds of greater than the promised 100 Mbps. CEO Elon Musk tweeted that several thousand more invitations were to be sent out during that week. Unlike with the Allen Township pilot, SpaceX Starlink customers in the beta trial are charged $99 per month and must pay $499 for equipment. A Starlink app helps participants self- install.
The service offers speeds of at least 20 Mbps upstream as required for the RDOF program in the speed tier for which SpaceX won funding, according to SpaceX. The heart of the technology is an army of low earth orbiting (LEO) satellites.
As of last month, only 885 of the many thousand necessary to provide full coverage to the planet were in space. One potential benefit of the approach is lower latency, since the satellites are closer to the ground in comparison with traditional geostationary satellites.