April 13, 2021
Starlink recruits beta testers for 'Better Than Nothing' satellite broadband service

SpaceX’s Starlink expands preorders for its $99-a-month internet service


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A stack of SpaceX Starlink satellites being deployed in orbit.


SpaceX

SpaceX’s Starlink has expanded the preorder program for its new satellite internet service. As spotted by CNBC, the Elon Musk-founded company this week has begun to allow interested customers to preorder a satellite internet kit with a $99 deposit due today. 

Although the service isn’t yet widely available, once it does come to your area you will need to pay an additional $499 for the hardware, which includes a Starlink satellite dish for your home, a Wi-Fi router, a power supply, cables and a mounting tripod. There will also be fees for shipping and tax, plus the regular internet service cost, which runs $99 per month.

Orders will be filled on a “first-come, first-served basis” but could take six months “more to fulfill” depending on your location. If you decide you don’t want the service the preorder is “fully refundable.” 

spacex hardware kit

SpaceX’s Starlink hardware includes a satellite dish and router. 


SpaceX

SpaceX is currently rolling out the internet service as part of a public beta “domestically and internationally” with the goal to expand to “near global coverage of the populated world in 2021.”

The company says that speeds in its current beta period will vary from 50 megabits per second to 150Mbps, with latency ranging from 20 milliseconds to 40ms. It warns that during the beta there may also be “brief periods of no connectivity at all” but expects that its offering will “improve dramatically” as it launches more satellites, adds more ground stations and improves its software. 

The company has been continuing to launch satellites into space, sending 60 into orbit last week with another launch planned for as soon as this Thursday. 

Read more: How SpaceX Starlink broadband will envelop Earth and transform the sky

On its Starlink website, SpaceX pitches the offering as being “ideally suited for areas of the globe where connectivity has typically been a challenge.” Using what is known as low Earth orbit satellites, or LEO, the company says it places its constellations of small Starlink satellites “over 60 times closer to Earth than traditional satellites” to allow for a stronger and faster connection than other space-based internet offerings provide.  

In a Federal Communications Commission filing last week, SpaceX revealed that it already has over 10,000 users for its internet service


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