- Parabolic Arc
- June 2, 2023
SpaceX’s Starlink Beta Test Costs $499 for Terminal, $99 per Month
by Douglas Messier
SpaceX’s Starlink broadband service has launched an invitation-only public beta test that Elon Musk’s company is calling the Better Than Nothing Beta.
According to an invitation email posted on Reddit, people testing the satellite Internet service can look forward to:
- Data speeds of 50Mb/s to 150Mb/s
- Latency from 20ms to 40ms for the next several months
- Brief periods of no connectivity at all
- Spending $499 for the phased-array user terminal, mounting tripod and router
- Paying a monthly subscription of $99.
SpaceX has launched 895 Starlink satellites as part of a constellation that will eventually total nearly 12,000 spacecraft. A number of the launched satellites are no longer functioning or have been deorbited.
“As we launch more satellites, install more ground stations and improve our networking software, data speed, latency and uptime will improve dramatically. For latency, we expect to achiev 16ms to 19ms by summer 2021,” SpaceX said in the email.
16 responses to “SpaceX’s Starlink Beta Test Costs $499 for Terminal, $99 per Month”
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I assume they don’t have to pay for installation itself, or is that included in the $499.00?
My guess is no. The installations instructions will read, “place under sky.”
Not bad, given the alternatives in rural America.
A customer should be able to pay anonymously using Bitcoin.
Receivers would be smuggled into countries where the citizens are kept uninformed, building a new black market.
yeah, governments are going to allow people to have anonymous internet service. The RIAA and MPA would have a cow.
Yeah. I totally agree.
But it is a wonderful dream.
I should probably wake up now.
Calling it “Better Than Nothing” is the kind of tung in cheek truth in advertising I wish more corporations used. Honesty can be humorous and set a more sane set of expectations from the customer base. Bravo Starlink. Hype it up, when the hype is real.
Agreed. Reminds me of an ad my uncle once placed for his side business, a used car lot (his real job was a high school shop and drafting teacher, back when drafting meant drafting boards and templates and paper and mechanical pencils). The text read “Bring your own rope sale, nothing guaranteed to start!” He sold more cars that weekend than before or since LOL.
I learned pencil and paper drafting in middle school and high school back in the ’80’s. They primed me well for modern CAD packages. Not to mention gave me a base to work off of for becoming a functional amateur machinist, and then an amateur CNC machinist.
That uncle (long since deceased) passed along an old (even for the time, early 1980s) copy of “Mechanical Drawing” by French. Great text. I still encounter otherwise very good CAD folks who don’t understand the fundamentals of mechanical drawing. French taught me those. I’m glad I took the time to work through that book.
The skill base of the 19th and 20th Cen is going away fast being replaced by people who have knowledge of small segments of disciplines and miss out on an overview of a subject. Software too, you see people are becoming experts in API’s or high level languages. Almost nobody can understand even the basic natural limitations of numerical types anymore. Skill bases are decaying everywhere. I’m really looking forward to what will happen 30 years from now when nobody knows how to drive safely anymore. It’s going to turn into some real limitations on individual mobility.
Well too pricey for Oz where good packages available at least in most of the metro areas. Rural areas are problematic dependant on where you are. It’s a big country.
Guess I should add a comparison.
So I’m about 250Kms south of Perth in south-west Western Australia. My isp gives me download speeds averaging around 50mbps and uploads of around 20mbps. Jitter around 1ms. No drop outs in the last quarter. I stream podcasts, videos, live events and Netflix no worries.
Ok this costs me $AU79.99 per month. Fetch adds $AU5 per month and the box cost me $AU99.
Oh and it’s an unlimited data, no lock-in contract.
I expect Rio Tinto might be interested given they are operating the telebotic robots at their iron mine via GeoSats. The reduced delay could be an advantage for them.
Also remember with only 1500 satellites capacity will be limited and so Starlink is probably going to follow the standard tech practice of sliding down the demand curve in their pricing strategy.
There are other satellite alternatives already existing. HughesNet and Excede.
Urban areas are generally well served if there is a dense enough concentration of users. Some places have high speed point to point wireless options that most people don’t even know exist. Many people can get by with cell data. I’m not confident that companies that are banking on selling internet access to nomadic or way off the grid people are aware that those people don’t tend to make enough money to have internet. I’d love to see the numbers they put on their business plan they show to investors.
I can recall many articles and Elon fan commenters that were guessing the price was going to come in closer to $40/month and would put cable companies out of business. I was hoping it would be cheaper than is now published to beat up my local cable company into dropping my rates. Sigh, I doubt they’re very worried now.
GEO-based broadband tends to be slow, high-latency, expensive and subject to service interruptions. Starlink will find a large market, both here and abroad.
The initial monthly rate is higher than a lot of people now pay for cable broadband, but that service also tends to come as an add-on to basic cable TV which one also has to pay for. Once the Starlink constellation gets dense enough that the service can start being offered in suburban areas, the wire-line broadband providers are likely to be corralled into strictly urban centers. Given what’s been happening to urban centers lately due to Covid-19 and pervasive Democratic misgovernance, that is likely to be a static or shrinking market going forward.