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The big picture: Starlink, the satellite-based broadband Internet service from SpaceX, now has over 10,000 users as part of its ongoing public beta program. The program is still in the very early stages but according to some users, it's off to a great start with solidly built hardware and better-than-expected speeds.
SpaceX revealed as much in a recent petition to the Federal Communications Commission in which Starlink Services is seeking designation as an eligible telecommunications carrier.
The “Better Than Nothing Beta” launched last October to select residents in parts of the US, Canada and the UK. Starlink in its FAQ notes that users can expect to see data speeds vary from 50Mb/s to 150Mb/s with latency between 20ms and 40ms.
According to some early speed tests, some users were getting results that exceeded expectations - over 200Mb/s in some cases.
As more satellites are launched into space and the networking software is improved, customers can expect even better speeds.
Starlink Internet service retails for $99 per month, plus a one-time fee of $499 for the installation kit.
The FCC in late 2018 granted SpaceX permission to deploy and operate a very-low-Earth orbit constellation consisting of thousands of small Internet-beaming satellites. The company started sending them into space in mid-2019 and plans to continue to do so over the next few years.
Starlink is hoping the commission will grant the petition by June 7, 2021 “in order for Starlink Services to meet the commission’s deadline for ETC designation for the purposes of receiving RDOF support.”