SpaceX has ambitious plans to serve earthlings with internet beamed down from thousands of satellites orbiting our planet.
The California-based company has already deployed around 1,000 of its Starlink satellites after sending the first of many batches into space in May 2019.
Last summer SpaceX started a low-key beta test of the service for select users, and on Tuesday it started accepting pre-orders for the equipment needed to set it up, plus the internet service itself.
If you’re interested, simply enter your email address and home address on Starlink’s website to find out if the service is coming your way anytime soon. If you’re in Connecticut, for example, then Starlink is aiming to reach your area in mid to late 2021.
If Starlink is incoming, you can pre-order the service with a payment of $99. The total cost, payable later, comes to $549 ($499 for the hardware and $50 for shipping and handling), plus a monthly payment of $99 for the internet service itself.
The message on Starlink’s website says that “availability is limited,” adding that orders will be fulfilled “on a first-come, first-served basis.” Customers will receive a notification when their Starlink order is ready to ship.
The small print says that pre-orders are fully refundable, and that depending on your location, “some orders may take six months or more to fulfill.” The company also says that placing a deposit does not guarantee service.
At this stage, Starlink is reaching customers in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., but as the company refines the technology and further expands its satellite constellation, people in more countries will have a chance to sign up.
The company revealed in a recent filing that trials of the service demonstrate the system is currently “meeting and exceeding 100/20 megabits per second throughput to individual users,” which SpaceX earlier pointed out is “fast enough to stream multiple HD movies at once and still have bandwidth to spare.”
The document also said that Starlink is already serving 10,000 beta customers in the U.S. and abroad.
SpaceX says its $10 billion Starlink project aims to provide “fast, reliable internet to locations where access has been unreliable, expensive, or completely unavailable.” In May 2019, SpaceX chief Elon Musk suggested Starlink could eventually generate up to $50 billion in annual revenue if it’s able to secure even just a few percent of the global telecommunications market.
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