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in “ Tech news in brief ”,
October 27, 2020.

Starlink Beta

Global communication network.

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On Monday evening, SpaceX began sending out email invitations to a few lucky Americans and Canadians to its Starlink public beta, a programme that aims to eventually provide world-wide Internet coverage from space. To be part of the trial, dubbed “Better Than Nothing Beta” (probably because the coverage, speed and latency are not yet what was promised), users must purchase the ground equipment (a satellite dish and a router) upfront for USD499, plus a monthly subscription, for USD99. The invitation email clarified what users of the beta version can expect from the early Starlink system: “Expect to see data speeds vary from 50Mbps to 150Mbps and latency from 20ms to 40ms over the next several months as we enhance the Starlink system. There will also be brief periods of no connectivity at all.” SpaceX says that both latency and data speed will improve as the company launches more satellites and installs more ground stations to receive the satellite signals. SpaceX hopes to eventually have 12,000 low-orbit satellites to provide continuous broadband service all over the world. So far, it has launched 893 Starlink satellites, 842 of which are operational.

Ars Technica, Jon Brodkin, “SpaceX Starlink public beta begins: It’s $99 a month plus $500 up front.”


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