- SpaceX said in a public filing Thursday that Starlink has more than 10,000 users in the US and abroad.
- Elon Musk’s aerospace company launched the Starlink public beta in October.
- In the filing, SpaceX requested that it be made eligible for federal cash to expand Starlink.
SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service has amassed more than 10,000 users across the world, just four months after entering beta, Elon Musk’s aerospace company said in a filing Thursday.
SpaceX said in a petition to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that “over 10,000 users in the United States and abroad are using the service today.”
In the petition, SpaceX asked the FCC to be designated an “Eligible Telecommunications Carrier” (ETC), making it eligible for federal cash, including the money from the FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunities Fund(RDOF) that it won in December.
The RDOF is a $20.4 billion effort to spread high-speed internet across America, particularly to rural regions.
The FCC in December awarded SpaceX nearly $900 million to expand Starlink in the US as part of the first phase of the RDOF.
But SpaceX didn’t immediately get the money. It must clear more hurdles and provide more detail on its plans — the ETC is part of this.
SpaceX said the ETC would help it quickly expand its service to new areas, specifically Alabama, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
The petition noted that the space firm won access to those areas under the RDOF.
SpaceX’s award under the RDOF has annoyed small internet service providers, who said on Thursday that the company, as well as other large firms, used “unproven” technology and called on the FCC to “aggressively” vet winning applications.
The Starlink public beta test, called “Better Than Nothing Beta,” now operates in the northern US, Canada, and parts of Europe. UK regulators approved Starlink in January and Insider spoke to one of the first British users to receive the Starlink kit.
Speeds vary from 50 Mbps to 150 Mbps, SpaceX said in an email to subscribers when the beta launched. Access costs $99 a month, plus $499 upfront for a kit with a tripod, a WiFi router, and a terminal to connect to the satellites.
So far, the company has launched more than 1,000 working satellites into orbit via its reusable Falcon 9 rocket. The most recent launch was on Thursday, when the Falcon 9 delivered 60 Starlink satellites into orbit.
The goal is to build a high-speed internet service which stretches across the world. SpaceX wants to launch up to 42,000 satellites by mid-2027.