SpaceX’s Starlink service in early Beta testing

Providing high-speed internet access to areas outside of major urban centers has long proven to be costly and difficult for providers. Several attempts have been made in the past and have failed due to low adoption, poor quality or simply being too expensive to manage. Enter the SpaceX offering, Starlink. The service will be distributed using their independent network of satellites, with many new satellite launches on their own Falcon 9 rockets coming.

Currently, SpaceX is in a testing phase, but plans to release the service in the southern United States have been seen in public filings for sometime next year. Consumers will receive a package with a box containing the receiving dish, wireless router, a power supply, the required cable hookups and a mounting tripod. This can be placed by a window with a clear sky view, on your rooftop or even mounted on a pole in areas with structural or environmental interference. It is even designed to detect if there is snow coverage and automatically melt what lands on the device.

Speeds during Starlink Beta testing period can vary from 50Mb/s to 150Mb/s on average. Even with intermittent down time and a slightly higher latency (20ms to 40ms) this is a vast improvement over available connectivity in rural and remote areas where traditional point-to-point via towers have provided spotty service at best. Coverage areas will be limited for now, but with the launch of their additional satellite fleet they are aiming to provide global coverage. The cost can be a little steep as the kit is estimated to be over $600 CDN with a monthly fee in the betwee $100-$200 range, but as adoption increases, prices may vary.

To order the service, go directly to Starlink’s website to check availability in your area. If it’s not currently available, you can check the Updates section on the SpaceX website.