Starlink is a satellite internet company developed by SpaceX that will bring internet access to rural and underserved areas around the world. Starlink satellites are in low-Earth orbit, which is much closer than satellite providers generally use. This allows Starlink to deliver faster speeds and lower latency than you can usually get with satellite service. Although the company is still in its early days, Starlink already has the largest satellite constellation in the world—and it’s growing fast.
To date, Starlink has 895 operational satellites and has launched 955 (the first 60 satellites were tests and have been deorbited).10 Starlink plans to eventually have 12,000 or more satellites in its constellation. Because the satellite constellation is not fully filled out, beta testers experience periodic outages. As more satellites are launched, outages will eventually not be a problem.
In private beta test results, Starlink has shown it can deliver a high-speed satellite internet connection of 100 Mbps or more with an extremely low latency of 20 milliseconds.1,2,3 Starlink tells customers to expect speed variations between 50 to 150 Mbps in the beta testing phase.
Currently, Starlink beta pricing is $99 per month, with an initial $499 equipment cost required at sign up.7 The one-time equipment fee of $499 includes the Starlink dish receiver (what Elon Musk calls “a UFO on a stick”), a mounting tripod, and a Starlink modem. Service costs $99 per month.
Although initial startup cost is high, the good news for rural dwellers is that you don’t need to have your home wired with cable or fiber (or anything) to get it. It will likely take several years for Starlink to lower the initial cost, which prices the service out of the range for many potential customers.
To sign up for the Starlink beta, visit the Starlink site and enter your address and email. Current beta testers are selected based solely on location, so if you’re within the coverage area you can expect an invite.