SpaceX's satellite constellation Starlink is designed to deliver internet on Earth, is manufactured and launched with greater and greater occurrence. This won’t be the sort of internet that can beam down to a handheld device, instead using a ground terminal to make line-of-sight contact. The company’s filings have compared the antenna to a pizza box, and Musk has described it as a "thin, flat, round UFO on a stick” with “motors to self-adjust optimal angle to view sky.” In short, Starlink wants to launch possibly the biggest satellite constellation in human history to send high-speed internet to pizza box-shaped devices.
Speed and latency may become clearer with real-world use, but a FCC filing suggested it would reach speeds of up to one gigabit per second and a latency between 25 and 35 milliseconds. Elon Musk stated in May 2019 that the team is aiming for “sub 20ms latency initially, sub 10ms over time, with much greater consistency than terrestrial links, as only ever a few hops to major data centers.” These fast response times are ideal for video games that require fast reflexes. In real-world tests, SpaceX tested a relay service in 2018 with the United States Air Force, reaching around 610 megabits per second with the two test satellites.
Starlink pricing is still uncertain, and the company is remaining silent. However, the company has dropped a several hints that could reveal more about Starlink monthly costs for its eventual launch. Elon Musk has already dismissed the idea that it will be free. The monthly cost will have to be competitive with other services. A study found that average internet in Canada costs $50 per month during a promotional period and $60 thereafter. Satellite internet, necessary in rural and poorly connected areas, can cost around $100 per month. Then there is the connection kit. Musk suggested in 2015 this could cost between $100 and $300.
SpaceX’s Starlink website says it is “targeting service in the Northern U.S. and Canada in 2020,” while “expanding to near global coverage of the populated world by 2021.” The website previously claimed that the former milestone would be reached after six missions, and the latter after 24 launches. The company has started applying for regulatory approval. The Communications Commission approved the company’s plans in April 2019. The Australian Communications and Media Authority added SpaceX to a list of approved operators in January. It’s also filed for permission with the International Telecommunication Union.
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