Starlink internet to begin beta testing
After their June 13 launch – fresh on the heels of being the first private entity to carry astronauts into space – SpaceX has now put 540 Starlink satellites into low orbit around the earth, enough to begin what Elon Musk calls “minor” coverage of Starlink internet – an ambitious project that promises to provide more comprehensive internet coverage than the traditional broadband providers.
With enough Starlink satellites in space, the team is now ready to start testing this new internet service with the goal of offering wider scale coverage later this year and into 2021.
Starlink Internet: Could it be a Gamechanger?
Starlink internet sounds like a fantasy: a floating armada that could contain thousands of satellites forming an awesomely named “megaconstellation” which will beam internet to places where it is “unreliable, expensive, or completely unavailable”, as the company claims.
And right now, it is a fantasy – but if SpaceX succeeds, Starlink could be a gamechanger for those currently with limited – or no – internet access.
The project’s satellites are much closer to Earth than today’s current internet satellites –around 342 miles high, compared to roughly 22,000 miles high.
This means two things: more coverage with less lag time. According to SpaceX’s filing with the Federal Communications Commission, they’re promising download speeds at one gigabit per second. (Though the FCC has some doubts.)
Calls For Testing
On Friday, SpaceX put out the call for prospective customers to start beta testing the Starlink internet. If you would like to sign up, you can enter your email, zip, and home country – you’ll then receive an email telling you to look out for availability announcements in your area.
Private beta testing of minor Starlink internet will begin later this summer, the email reads, with a public beta test to follow.
The tests will start in the northern latitudes. Per CNBC, SpaceX aims to begin commercial Starlink internet offerings in the northern U.S. and southern Canada – if they get their Canadian authorization, of course – before the end of this year.
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