SpaceX Starlink Available in August: Elon Musk Expects to Service Half a Million Customers Within a Year

SpaceX Starlink Available in August: Musk Expects to Service Half a Million Customers Within a Year
Starlink could be operational globally starting August, one month earlier than scheduled. Musk is also expecting to service half a million customers within 12 months of operation. Photo : Joan Cros/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said Starlink will be available worldwide, save for the North and South Poles starting in August. This announcement was made earlier on Tuesday during a talk at the virtual Moile World Congress 2021 in Barcelona, Spain, Cnet reported.

Starlink Satellite Broadband Service

Starlink, engineered by the rocket company SpaceX, is a string of satellites launched into space to provide high-speed, low latency broadband internet.

The latency for the Starlink system is similar to ground-based fiber and 5G latency, at around under 20 milliseconds, Musk said during the Mobile World Congress. This makes Starlink a good substitute for 5G and fiber when both aren't accessible.

Musk said it's currently delivering initial beta service domestically and internationally to 12 countries including the US, Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Europe. They plan to add more countries every month, according to Cnet.

In a tweet, Musk said that the coverage for the North and South poles would take another six months to set up and connect, per Business Insider.

There are currently 1,800 Starlink satellites in orbit, and originally, SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell said they planned to achieve global coverage by September but Musk now says it could actually begin service a month early.

Their goal is to launch a "constellation" of 42,000 satellites into lower-earth orbit by mid-2027 to provide Internet access all over the world, especially in underserved communities and remote areas normally not serviced by broadband providers.

Users could expect internet speeds of up to 209.17 megabits per second, one of the fastest speeds recorded by a beta-test subscriber.

A monthly subscription to Starlink currently costs $99. But if you want to purchase the kit, which includes a tripod, Wi-Fi router, and terminal to connect to the satellites, that would cost $499.

Read Also: Starlink Stocks for Sale? Elon Musk Plans to Go Public But Not Soon, Tesla Investors to Get Preference

500,000 Starlink Internet Users Within 12 Months

Musk also told the Mobile World Congress that Starlink currently has more than 69,000 customers signed up, and it is expecting more than 500,000 in the next 12 months, Business Insider added.

The service is intended for the three percent to five percent of people in the world without access to the internet. Musk shared "it's really a nice complement to fiber and 5G."

To deploy the high-speed internet service, he estimates that it would cost $5 billion to $10 billion. And compared to other broadband service offerings, Starlink's service isn't cheap, Cnet added.

The company is also working on building new terminals that cost less. Musk disclosed that the current internet terminals cost SpaceX $1,000 to make and are available to customers at $499 each on top of the $99 monthly subscription. With the future hardware, the prices should drop to $250 or $300 per unit.

The CEO also teased two "quite significant partnerships" with major country telecoms companies.

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