$99 a Month
According to screenshots of emails obtained by CNBC, SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service will cost $99 per month — competitive, considering that rural America has been stuck for years with extremely slow and at times extremely expensive satellite broadband solutions.
It’s part of an early beta test of the service by the Elon Musk-led company. To opt in, participants will also have to cough up a hefty $499 for the “Starlink Kit,” a bundle of hardware to start receiving service.
The kit will include the terminal, a mounting tripod, and a WiFi router, according to CNBC. A Starlink app on both iOS and Android will tie the service together.
Better Than Nothing
According to the emails, the beta test is called the “Better Than Nothing Beta,” a Muskian tongue-in-cheek naming convention. “As you can tell from the title, we are trying to lower your initial expectations,” the email reads.
Expected speeds should be respectable, ranging between 50 and 150 megabits per second, according to the “Starlink Team” that signed the emails. They also claim latency will be reasonably low, ranging from anywhere between 20 and 40 milliseconds.
Employees have been testing the service for a couple months now as part of an internal beta.
In an July filing with the Federal Communications Commission, SpaceX claimed that its Starlink service has “extraordinary demand” for a public-facing beta with “nearly 700,000” individuals expressing interest.
Starlink depends on a fast growing network of microsatellites in low-Earth orbit. So far, SpaceX has sent almost 900 of them into orbit, which is still only a tiny portion of the constellation required to give the entire globe service.
Near global coverage of the populated world is expected “by 2021,” according to the Starlink app description.