SpaceX Aiming To Roll Out Starlink To More People In January
Unless you live in the northwest United States, you’ve probably been watching from afar with envy as the first Starlink coverage has rolled out over the past few months.
Luckily, there’s good news for the rest of us – well, some of us – as SpaceX is planning to expand beta testing of the broadband network at the start of next year.
The announcement was made during a Reddit AMA with Starlink engineers that took place over the weekend, and although they didn’t specify exactly which areas would be gaining coverage, it looks like the service could be set to expand throughout the US pretty soon.
Coverage is currently limited to select customers in the northwest United States and parts of southern Canada, but the company says the network’s reach will grow as more satellites are launched into orbit. There are currently almost 800 satellites already in space; just a fraction of the 40,000 SpaceX says will eventually form a network capable of providing the whole world with speeds of up to 100Mbps .
The engineers, posting under the username ‘DishyMcFlatface’, explained:
Notably we’re planning to move from a limited beta to a wider beta in late January, [which] should give more users an opportunity to participate
As per Business Insider, the company has already revealed plans to provide families living in a rural public school district in Texas with free Starlink broadband starting in 2021, so it’s probably reasonable to assume that beta testing will be coming to Americans living in the southern and western states in the not-too-distant future. The engineers added that they hoped to achieve a global rollout by the end of next year, although no timeline has been announced for this expansion.
During the AMA, some people raised concerns about how the system would cope with more users on the network, however the engineers claimed that as the network’s capacity grew, speeds would actually increase, rather than decrease.
This is not going to be like your regular satellite internet where it gets way too crowded – as we launch more satellites over time the network will get increasingly great, not increasingly worse
Currently anyone is able to sign up to be a beta tester, although you won’t be able to access the system until coverage expands to your region, and users must be specifically invited by Starlink.
The Starlink beta network costs $99 a month, with satellite dish and router required to access the system costing an additional $499.
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