Starlink appears to have begun accepting some beta customers onto its low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite Internet service, offering speeds of between 50 Mbit/s to 150 Mbit/s for $99 per month.
The company is outlining the basics of its service in emails to prospective customers under the "Better Than Nothing Beta program" heading, according to a CNBC report that dovetails with user posts to the Reddit website. However, Starlink – the LEO broadband operation of space-faring company SpaceX – did not return requests for comment, according to CNBC.
"We're trying to lower your initial expectations," reads the reported email. "As we launch more satellites, install more ground stations and improve our networking software, data speed, latency and uptime will improve dramatically."
In the email, the company said users should expect latency between 20 milliseconds to 40 milliseconds, figures that could decrease to 16 ms to 19 ms by the summer of 2021.
Customers will need to purchase and install an antenna to connect with Starlink satellites, as well as a Wi-Fi router, for $499.
"There will also be brief periods of no connectivity at all," Starlink warns. However, the beta service does not appear to contain monthly data limits.
Starlink's LEO service has generated plenty of attention, partly due to the unproven nature of the technology; partly due to the possibility of speedy, satellite-based Internet connections available in every corner of the world; partly due to the fact that Starlink is the first of a number of major LEO contenders, ranging from Amazon to OneWeb to Telesat, to launch commercial services; and partly due to the celebrity surrounding the company's billionaire backer, Elon Musk.
According to Advanced Television, the financial analysts at Morgan Stanley recently raised their Starlink valuation from $42 billion to $81 billion. And Forbes reported that SpaceX investor Chad Anderson said he expects eventual revenues from Starlink in the range of $30 billion to $50 billion per year.
For more on Starlink's beta launch and expectations, see the full story on Light Reading: Starlink's beta arrives at $99/month for speeds up to 150 Mbit/s – report
— Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano