October 6, 2020 | internet | No Comments
SpaceX has successfully launched another 60 satellites into orbit, clearing the way for the public beta of its Starlink satellite broadband network to begin.
“Once these satellites reach their target position, we will be able to roll out a fairly wide public beta in northern US and hopefully southern Canada,” CEO Elon Musk tweeted today.
The Starlink satellite broadband network can currently deliver 100Mbps download speeds with latency at around 30 milliseconds, which is on par with ground-based internet services.
However, Starlink’s main selling point is that SpaceX will theoretically be able to deliver fast broadband to anyone on Earth with a satellite dish outside their home. As a result, customer interest in the upcoming broadband network has been high, especially among users based in rural areas or small towns, who lack access to fast internet speeds.
With today’s successful launch, SpaceX now has about 770 satellites in orbit to power Starlink. However, the satellites have been generally orbiting around the Earth along the higher latitudes, where cities such as Seattle are located. So for now, the company is first targeting the northern US and southern Canada for the public beta.
The company plans to expand to lower latitudes, including areas over Texas, three months from now as SpaceX sends more satellites into orbit. “Average latency will improve as more satellites launch (directly above you more frequently) and more ground stations are deployed,” Musk said in a tweet last Thursday. “As we’re able to put more ground stations on roofs of server centers, legacy Internet latency will be zero.”
The long-term plan is to eventually launch thousands of more satellites so Starlink can supply 1Gbps internet speeds to those on Earth. SpaceX is currently asking interested users to sign up for email updates to learn more about the upcoming beta trials. However, there’s still no word on what Starlink will eventually cost.