SpaceX Starlink satellite constellation is taking shape as the company has sent out email invites for people to join the public beta program. Those who opt-in will have to pay $499 up front and a monthly subscription of $99.
With over 700 Starlink satellites now orbiting the Earth, the company is now offering beta testers internet speeds between 50-150Mb/s with 20 to 40ms latency. The subject line of the SpaceX Starlink Beta invites call it the “Better than nothing” beta. It is so because the Starlink constellation is capable of delivering high-speed internet in areas where there’s no cable connectivity in general.
SpaceX Starlink Public Beta: What We Know So Far
News of the SpaceX Starlink beta program broke out on Reddit when users started posting screenshots of the mail they received from the company. The people who received the invitations are chosen from the ones who earlier showed interest in the beta program.
The first line of the email says “we are trying to lower your initial expectations”. It is so because the program is in the beta phase and remains exposed to varying connection speeds and at times for “brief periods of no connectivity at all.”
It is understandable as Starlink satellites are yet to reach peak efficiency as the mega constellation grows. The email promises better data speeds, latency, and higher uptime as more satellites are launched and ground stations installed.
Those who have received the email can enroll for the SpaceX Starlink beta by clicking on the link at the end of the mail. Users will have to pay $500 upfront for the user terminal, mounting tripod, and WiFi router. Aside from the one-off payment, the subscription fee is $99/month, and there’s apparently no data limit.
A Reddit user posted that the total order cost sits around $600 which includes a $50 shipping and taxes. There are also different mounts available and a ridgeline mount that this user ordered, cost him an additional $100.
The company has also released an app on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store for users to set-up their user-terminals and check the status of their Starlink connection.
SpaceX’s Starlink satellites are expected to have both civilian and military applications. While the basic function of the satellites is to provide a global high-speed internet connection, the US military is also looking at Starlink as an alternative to GPS navigation.
What We’re Yet To Find Out
At the time of writing this article, there’s no announcement about the number of people selected for the Starlink public beta. There’s also no word about the pricing of the user-terminal when the service rolls out for the general public.