SpaceX has started its beta program for Starlink internet. A few Reddit users have reported to have received email invites for the ‘Better Than Nothing Beta’ program of the Starlink satellite internet service. The invites are being sent to those who have registered their interest in the internet services that will leverage the Starlink satellites placed in the lower-earth orbit. According to screenshots of the email invite shared on Reddit, SpaceX is claiming rather underwhelming data speeds ranging from 50mbps to 150mbps, with a latency of 20ms to 40ms.
The Starlink beta program costs $99 per month (roughly Rs. 7,300), along with ‘phased-arrayed’ satellite dish and Wi-Fi router which cost another $499 (roughly Rs. 35,000). The satellite dish will be installed on top of the beta tester’s house. Interested users can sign up by clicking on the link on the email to order the satellite internet service. For now, SpaceX is targeting users based in North US and possibly Southern Canada, where the Starlink system has better satellite coverage. However, two users on Reddit who got the email invite said they’re based in Washington, and one is based out of Wisconsin. The email invite also said that there will also be brief periods of no connectivity at all. “As we launch more satellites, install more ground stations and improve our networking software, data speed, latency and uptime will improve dramatically,” the email adds.
To help beta testers set up their satellite internet, SpaceX has also launched a mobile app on iOS and Android. The app also ensures that the Starlink satellite dish has a clear view of the sky when installed at the user’s house.
It is not known how many invites SpaceX has sent out yet. Users can register to a SpaceX newsletter on Starlink.com to get notified about the availability of the Starlink beta program.
Elon Musk-owned aerospace company SpaceX intends to provide high speed internet connectivity from the Starlink constellation of satellites. The aim is to offer 1gbps internet speeds and a global coverage, with a fairly low latency of up to 25ms, once the constellation is complete. SpaceX plans to put a total of 12,000 Lower-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites in its Starlink constellation and has currently sent close to 900 Starlink satellites. Earlier this year, SpaceX wrote to the US FCC for permission for 30,000 satellites as part of the Gen2 System.