starlink beta launch

The new satellite broadband service from SpaceX, Starlink, will be expanding its beta program by thousands of additional subscribers, according to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. The beta expansion comes as current beta participants are revealing Starlink speeds in excess of 100 Mbps.

Musk revealed the Starlink beta expansion in a tweet yesterday. Pricing for the beta phase of Starlink was revealed last week as $99 per month with a $499 equipment fee. Beta testers are expected to do self-installs, with the assistance of a Starlink app.

In a sign of the times, most of the info and details of what’s happening with Starlink are revealed through Musk tweets. He has also claimed that speeds and latency will improve and that southern states could start seeing Starlink coverage as soon as January.

Coverage is currently focused on northern territory, due to satellite coverage. Starlink will need many thousands of low earth orbit satellites to cover the entire U.S. As of late October, the company had 895 in orbit, according to the Space Explored website.

Starlink beta speeds are looking promising. A beta tester in Montana posted a Starlink speed test result of 174/33 Mbps on a Reddit forum. The comments section of the post is an interesting read, with many discussing how they feel “trapped” by high-cost, low performing DSL service.

Source: Reddit forum

The attention Starlink is receiving now is good timing, considering SpaceX is participating in the RDOF auction, which will award up to $16 billion in support for rural broadband expansion. Access to RDOF funding could help accelerate Starlink plans.

It’s very early in the game for Starlink, especially considering it has less than one tenth of the satellites it needs in orbit for national coverage. If the company manages to reach national coverage, the speeds hold up at scale, and the Starlink beta pricing structure gets more aggressive, it could make for a very interesting competitive dynamic for the broadband industry.

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2 thoughts on “SpaceX Starlink Beta to Expand, Speeds Showing Signs of 100 Mbps or More

  1. Starlink is THE total game-changer in internet access for everyone across the planet, not just the US. But as is stated in the article, they are FAR from total coverage and at the current rate of satellite launches it will take years to reach everywhere in the continental US. Some say that they are going to dramatically increase the number of launches in the coming months, but we have not seen that yet. I hope it happens

  2. Game Changer? Not really.
    Thanks to the LEO satellites, latency is not a problem for Starlink.
    However, Starlink’s capacity is exaggerated hundreds times more than reality because
    71% of the earth surface is covered by ocean, and the remaining 10% of the area, such as Sahara, Mongolia, Tibet, or Siberia, …… is not habitantable at all, thus only 12,000 x 20% = 2,400 satellites can communicate with any ground station at any given time around the world.
    The US is less than 1/10 of the size of the area with a world population, at most 240 satellites are flying over the US territory at any time. Since each satellite provides only 20 gbps bandwidth, 240 x 20 = 4,800 gbps is the maximum bandwidth that the Starlink can provide to the users in the US territory.
    How many rural residents can Starlink support if each user uses 100 mbps?
    Starlink is just another GlobalStar that offers extremely expensive services to special purposes, but for non-mobile users.
    It is absolutely impractical to expect Starlink to be a Game Changer and real competitor to landline.

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