PHOTO CREDITS: TECHSPOT
According to CNBC, SpaceX is expanding its beta version of its Starlink internet service, sending emails to people that showed interest in the product on October 26th.
Named the “Better than Nothing Beta” test, it is priced at $99 per month and a $499 initial cost to order the Starlink kit. The kit includes a user terminal to connect to the satellites, a mounting tripod, and a Wi-Fi router. The Starlink app is also now available on the Google Play and Apple iOS app stores.
The emails sent out said: “As you can tell from the title, we are trying to lower your initial expectations. Expect to see data speeds vary from 50Mb/s to 150Mb/s and latency from 20ms to 40ms over the next several months as we enhance the Starlink system. There will also be brief periods of no connectivity at all.” The email was signed, “Starlink Team.”
Starlink is SpaceX’s plan to build an interconnected internet network with thousands of satellites to bring high-speed internet to anywhere on the planet, including remote locations that are hard to reach with normal geostationary satellites. To date, SpaceX has launched nearly 900 satellites into orbit so far. This is still a fraction of what is needed for global coverage, but enough to start providing service in some parts of the world, including the northwest United States.
“Under Starlink’s Better Than Nothing Beta program, initial service is targeted for the U.S. and Canada in 2020, rapidly expanding to near-global coverage of the populated world by 2021,” SpaceX said in the description of its Starlink mobile app.
SpaceX announced earlier this month a partnership with Microsoft to connect its Azure cloud computing network to the Starlink network. In recent months, SpaceX and Microsoft have been testing the software needed to connect Starlink and Azure. This partnership is especially important to Microsoft’s new mobile data centers which are designed for customers in hybrid, or challenging environments, including remote areas.
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