SpaceX Starlink to go out of beta next month, says Elon Musk

Screenshot of the SpaceX Starlink booking website.
Enlarge / Screenshot of Starlink’s order page, with street address removed.

SpaceX’s Starlink satellite broadband service will come out of beta in October, CEO Elon Musk said last night. Musk provided the answer of “next month“in response to a Twitter user who asked when Starlink will be coming out of beta.

SpaceX began sending email invitations to the public beta of Starlink in October 2020. The service is far from perfect as trees can interrupt line-of-sight connections to satellites and satellite dishes go into “thermal shutdown” in hot areas. But for people in areas where cabled ISPs have never implemented cable or fiber, Starlink remains a promising alternative and service should improve as SpaceX launches more satellites and refines its software.

SpaceX has said it serves more than 100,000 Starlink users in a dozen countries from more than 1,700 satellites. The company has been taking pre-orders for post-beta service and said in may that “more than half a million people have placed an order or made a deposit for Starlink.”

It is still possible to pre-order and send deposits of $ 99 in the Starlink website, but the site notes that “Depending on the location, some orders can take 6 months or more to complete.” Deposits are fully refundable.

The first 500,000 orders will “probably” be serviced

There are capacity limits imposed by the laws of physics, and SpaceX has not guaranteed that everyone who pre-ordered will get Starlink. Musk said in May that the first 500,000 people “will probably” get the service, but that SpaceX will face it. “[m]more of a challenge when we step into the multi-million user range. “

We asked Musk today how many orders will be completed by the end of 2021 and will update this article if we get an answer. Musk has said that capacity limits will primarily be an issue in densely populated urban areas, so the rural population should have a good chance of obtaining service.

SpaceX has permission from the US to deploy 1 million user terminals nationwide and is seeking a license to deploy up to 5 million terminals. Starlink’s pre-order quantity is up to 600,000 and SpaceX is reportedly speed up your plate production to meet demand, such as PCMag wrote In the past week.

No price changes yet

In beta, SpaceX has been charging a one-time fee of $ 499 for the user terminal, mounting tripod, and router, plus $ 99 per month for the service. SpaceX hasn’t announced any pricing changes, but that could change when it goes from beta to commercial availability.

In April, SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell said Starlink will likely avoid “tiered pricing” and “try to maintain [pricing] as simple and transparent as possible. “Shotwell said SpaceX would keep Starlink in beta” until the network is reliable and great and something we are proud of. “SpaceX is also working on ruggedized user terminals for planes, ships, large trucks. and recreational vehicles.

SpaceX is licensed by the Federal Communications Commission to launch nearly 12,000 satellites in low Earth orbit and is seeking permission to launch an additional 30,000. Amazon, which plans its own constellation of satellites, has been urging the FCC to reject the current version of SpaceX’s next-generation Starlink plan. The satellite operator Viasat supported Amazon’s protest and separately urged a federal appeals court to halt the SpaceX launches, but the judges rejected Viasat’s request for suspension.

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