Silicon Valley billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX satellite internet venture Starlink has started accepting pre-orders for its beta programme.
Users are required to pay $99 as advance amount to book the Starlink satellite internet services which will be shipped ”on a first-come, first-served basis”.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on February 4 carrying the 19th batch of 60 broadband satellites for SpaceX’s Starlink Network, a planned constellation capable of beaming signals for high-speed internet service from space to paying customers around the globe.
Within eight minutes of liftoff, Falcon 9’s main-stage reusable booster rocket flew back to Earth for a successful landing on a barge floating in the Atlantic, completing its fifth trip to space and back.
SpaceX launched a beta version of its Starlink satellite internet on October 26, and people have been surprised with the current download speed as beta users observed download speed between 160-174 megabits per second.
Beta users were asked to pay a fee of $600 upfront to get the internet which Musk announced as “Better Than Nothing Beta”. However, Musk had tried to downplay his hand and said the internet would provide download speeds between 50 to 150 Mbps.
Starlink will be using nearly 900 satellites to beam the internet down to earth. After the users started sharing screenshots of the download speed, SpaceX said they deliberately wanted to “lower your initial expectations” to make sure no disappointment came their way when the users started beta testing.
Many users are now hailing the new internet system, while some have complained about the cost involved in the same. The beta version is available $99 a month but there are additional costs involved which totals to $499 for a kit with a tripod, a WiFi router, and a terminal to connect to Starlink satellites. While some are unhappy with the massive cost, some are saying they will be happy to pay even more if the speed remains either the same or increases, especially now as majority people are working from home.
SpaceX said on Thursday it had 10,000 users on its nascent satellite-based broadband service, dubbed Starlink, which Musk says will provide crucial funding to develop his Starship rocket for missions to the moon and, eventually, Mars.