According to the latest news, the SpaceX Starlink satellite constellation seems to have taken its final shape because the company has already started sending out email invites for people to join the public beta program. However, note that if you are willing to join this public beta program then you will have to shell out the $499 upfront and a monthly subscription of $99.
As of now, over 700 Starlink satellites are orbiting the Earth. Currently, the company is offering beta testers internet speeds between 50 MBps to 150 Mbps with 20 ms to 40 ms latency.
The subject line of the SpaceX Starlink Beta invites read “Better than nothing” because the Starlink constellation is capable of delivering high-speed internet even in those areas where there is no cable connectivity in general.
At first, the news of the SpaceX Starlink beta program broke out on Reddit. In Reddit posts, users started posting screenshots of the mail they have received from the company. Note that the people who received the invitations are chosen from the ones who earlier showed interest in the beta program.
As per the screenshots, the first line of the invitation says “we are trying to lower your initial expectations”. It seems that it is so because the program is right now in the beta phase and remains exposed to varying connection speeds and at times for “brief periods of no connectivity at all.”
It is quite understandable that Starlink satellites are yet to reach peak efficiency as the mega constellation grows so the email promises better data speeds, latency, and higher uptime as more satellites are being launched and more ground stations are being installed.
Currently, those who have received the email can directly enroll for the SpaceX Starlink beta by clicking on the link at the end of the mail. However, as we discussed earlier, willing users will have to pay the US $ 500 upfront for the user terminal, mounting tripod, and WiFi router, and apart from that, they would also have to pay a sum of US $ 99 per month as a subscription fee. Apparently, it seems there is no data limit.
A Reddit user posted that the total order cost is something around the US $600. It eventually includes a shipping charge and a tax of US $ 50. The device comes with different mounts. A user posted that he ordered a ridgeline mount which cost him the additional US $ 100.
Starlink has also released an app on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store for users. With this app, users will be able to set up their user terminals and check the status of their Starlink connection.
Just to let you know, SpaceX’s Starlink satellites are expected to come with both civilian and military applications. The basic function of the satellites is to provide a global high-speed internet connection. As per a report, the US military is also looking forward to Starlink as an alternative to GPS navigation.
As of now, there is no announcement about the number of people selected for the Starlink public beta program and there is also no word about the pricing of the user terminal when the service rolls out for the general public so these will be interesting points to note in near future.