Starlink satellite internet service will cost users $99 per month, according to email screenshots from CNBC — a competitive figure, in light of the atypically slow and sometimes expensive satellite broadband faced in rural areas of America.
Starlink satellite to cost $99 per month, reportedly
This service rate of $99 — if confirmed — will come as part of an early beta test of Elon Musk's company. To join, participants will also need to pay a more substantial $499 for the "Starlink Kit" — a hardware bundle needed before service can start, Futurism reports.
Once released, the kit will come with the terminal, a WiFi router, and a mounting tripod, reports CNBC. A Starlink app available for both Android and iOS will put the service into action.
Starlink's 'Better Than Nothing Beta'
The emails suggest the beta test is called the "Better Than Nothing Beta," a title befitting Musk's "just-another-engineer" naming convention. "As you can tell from the title, we are trying to lower your initial expectations," the email reads in a deadpan voice.
Internet speeds should meet most needs, at a range of 50 to 150 megabits per second, according to the "Starlink Team" referenced in the emails' signature. The team also claims a low latency standard, with a range between 20 and 40 milliseconds.
SpaceX employees have tested the service for months amid an internal beta. And in a July filing with the Federal Communications Commission, the company said its forthcoming Starlink service already had an "extraordinary demand" for a public-facing beta — with "nearly 700,000" people showing interest.
Rolling out Starlink service
SpaceX's Starlink service relies on a rapidly-growing network of microsatellites stationed in low-Earth orbit. As of writing, SpaceX has sent nearly 900 internet-capable satellites into orbit — which is only a small fraction of the mega-constellation needed for global internet service.
A near-global offering of internet coverage is slated for "2021," according to a description in the Starlink app. SpaceX launches are becoming a constant presence on news feeds, and for many, it will soon slip into the data behind the news, all around the world.