As SpaceX’s constellation of small Starlink internet satellites continues to grow, so does the company’s broadband service
Already available in parts of the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. with broadband beamed from space, SpaceX has just revealed that the service, which is currently in beta, will launch in western Germany and New Zealand’s South Island in the coming weeks.
Coverage will also be expanded beyond southern England to northern England, and also to parts of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Announcing the news via Reddit, SpaceX said you can check service availability in your region by visiting starlink.com and entering your address. “If Starlink is not yet available in your area, you can place a deposit to hold your space in line for future service,” the company said, adding that all orders are first-come, first served.
Starlink customers in the U.S. are asked to make a one-off payment of $549 ($499 for the hardware and $50 for shipping and handling), plus $99 a month for the internet service. New customers signing up in other countries will be required to pay around the same amount.
Current customers, of which there are currently more than 10,000, are currently receiving speeds of around 100 megabits per second (Mbps) as part of the beta service, though this should increase to 300 Mbps later this year.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk recently pointed out that while many people may not be receiving the kind of high-speed service that some folks are already enjoying, it’s a clear improvement on the kind of speeds experienced by many people living in the low-to-medium population density areas that Starlink is aiming to reach.
SpaceX deployed its first Starlink satellites in low-Earth orbit in 2019 and now has around 1,200 in space, with more being launched all the time.
With its satellite constellation continuing to grow, the California-based company is working toward blanketing Earth in broadband connectivity, beaming down affordable and reliable internet from space, with a particular focus on communities in remote areas that at the moment have little or no access to reliable internet services.
Musk believes Starlink could generate as much as $50 billion in annual revenue if the service — once it emerges from beta and becomes more widely available — is able to secure even just a few percent of the global telecommunications market.
News of Starlink’s expansion to more countries came just a few days after Musk revealed that besides homes, Starlink is also hoping to beam broadband to aircraft, ships, large trucks, and RVs, though not cars as the required equipment isn’t yet compact enough.
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