Users of dial-up internet services can heave a sigh of relief, for the SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk, tweeted that his company's satellite-based internet services, Starlink, will move out of beta next month. SpaceX has been running a public beta in the US since November 2020.
With a planned constellation of more than 30,000 mass-produced satellites in low-earth orbit (LEO), Starlink promises high-speed, low latency internet connection to practically anyone in the world. However, to operate in a country, the company needs to seek regulatory approvals in that geography. Currently, it has completed them only in 17 countries in Europe and the Americas combined, where it has been offering a public beta.
Under this phase, the services are only available to a limited number of people, on a first-come, first-served basis, according to the Starlink website. Earlier this year, Musk had declared that the beta would be completed in August while also claiming that the service would attract over 500,000 users within the first year. However, the service remains in beta, with only 100,000 terminals, the satellite receiver, and the router needed to access the service, shipped to users, according to Verge.
While Musk's tweet is usually a confirmation of decisions being taken at his companies, the Starlink confirmation came as a response to a question posed by a Twitter user. Musk was actually tweeting about the full self-driving (FSD) on the Tesla cars, which is also running in a much-delayed beta.
Good feedback from FSD Beta 10 users! 10.0.1 point release rolling out now.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 17, 2021
10.1 rolls out a week from Friday with beta request button.
Musk had promised this as a feature in 2019.
Musk is rather known for setting up extremely ambitious deadlines and not following them up at all. SpaceX still needs to send thousands of autonomously course adjusting satellites for the high-speed coverage that it promises. So, even if the Starlink beta is pushed around by a few months, it would not come as a surprise.
But only a full launch will reveal if there are many takers for the $500 terminal and $99 in a monthly subscription that Starlink wants its users to pay.