SpaceX is now inviting people to register their interest in the Starlink satellites and the internet services they will provide, as the company prepares to roll out the beta tests for the Starlink low-earth orbit (LEO) internet service. The Elon Musk-owned aerospace company intends to provide high speed internet connectivity from the Starlink constellation of satellites. It is expected that there will be gigabit speeds on offer, which for the rest of us means up to 1Gbps internet speeds, with the fairly low latency of up to 25ms. Starlink plans to offer these internet services for around $80 per month, which is priced at par if not lower than similar speed broadband plans in most countries, including India.
You can head to the Starlink website and sign up for updates, which the company says are to “get updates on Starlink news and service availability in your area”. Starlink says they target to launch the internet services across the US and Canada this year itself, and a near-global footprint at least covering populated areas, by the end of next year. Each Starlink satellite weighs about 250kg, which is significantly lighter than even the smallest hatchback car out there, and each satellite has 4 powerful phased array antennas.
The most recent additions to Starlink’s constellation happened on June 13, when 58 new Starlink satellites were launched into space. That means there are now 540 Starlink satellites in orbit. It is planned that the Starlink constellation will have a total of 12,000 LEO satellites. Late last month, SpaceX wrote to the US FCC for permission for 30,000 satellites as part of the Gen2 System.
“More than 85% of this system will operate at very low altitudes below 400 km, using eight total orbital altitudes ranging from 328 km to 614 km. Just as large deployments of new densified 5G networks are helping those in more urban environments, the densified satellite constellation SpaceX proposes will substantially increase capacity and drive up the number of consumers even in rural and remote areas with access to truly robust broadband,” the company said in the application.
Once you have signed up for the beta test, you will get a confirmation email, notes ZDNet. “Starlink is designed to deliver high-speed broadband internet to locations where access has been unreliable, expensive, or completely unavailable. Private beta testing is expected to begin later this summer, followed by public beta testing, starting with higher latitudes,” reads the email. “If you provided us with your zip code, you will be notified via email if beta testing opportunities become available in your area. In the meantime, we will continue to share with you updates about general service availability and upcoming Starlink launches,” it says. We have also signed up but have not received any confirmation email for our part of the world, at the time of writing this.
If you do sign up for the beta tests, you will be provided with an antenna, which measures just 0.48 meters in diameter, which will link with the nearest StarLink satellite and provide internet connectivity for your home or office. The wait may just be worth it.