Elon Musk’s Ambitious Starlink Internet Service Is Now Accepting Customers
Elon Musk’s SpaceX says it is making its Starlink satellite broadband network available to the public for the first time.
The company is set to expand its beta trials of the system by officially launching pre-orders for the futuristic new service to customers across the US, Canada and UK. While the network has technically been live for a few months now, at the moment it’s only been rolled out to around 10,000 customers in parts of the Northern US and Canada who signed up to the beta test waiting list ahead of time.
Now, ahead of a wider rollout expected to begin in the second half of 2021, SpaceX is throwing open its doors to prospective customers.
The promise of super-high-speed satellite broadband is worth getting excited about, especially if you’re in a rural area where internet speeds still move at a snail’s pace. But there are still one or two caveats to the latest Starlink announcement.
Pre-orders cost $99 (£89) up front, which the company says is fully refundable, however there’s no guarantee that everyone who pre-orders will actually get coverage. In the small print, Starlink notes that ‘placing a deposit does not guarantee service’ and also warns that customers may be in for a long wait, saying that depending on your location ‘orders may take 6 months or more to fulfill’.
The company says that it is targeting coverage for customers in the UK, United States and Canada in ‘mid to late 2021’, with customers in other parts of the world having to wait until 2022. It’s admittedly quite a long time to wait, but SpaceX is clearly expecting demand to be high, with pre-orders available on a limited ‘first come, first serve’ basis.
Up until now, Musk and SpaceX have floated a few different figures for how much users can eventually expect to pay for the service. According to the pre-order form, service will cost $99 (£89) per month, with hardware and shipping costs totalling around $500 (£360). Users can expect to receive a Wi-Fi router and their very own satellite dish, which SpaceX affectionately refers to as DishyMcDishFace.
SpaceX eventually hopes to cover the Earth with a network of tens of thousands of satellites, offering world-beating download speeds as high as 200Mbps to even the most remote corners of the world. The company last week launched its 1,000th Starlink satellite into orbit, and plans to deploy 4,425 to form the basis of its global coverage by 2024.
Anyone interested in being among the first to get their hands on the brand-new satellite broadband network can pre-order by entering their address on the Starlink website.
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