SpaceX Company announced the price of connection to its satellite Internet service as part of the extended beta testing phase. The cost will be $99 per month and $499 for the equipment set. Connection speed and delay while I will float in a fairly wide range and even possible short periods of lack of communication, but by mid 2021 the service should begin to work well and steadily.
The fact that SpaceX began to recruit customers, it became known from screenshots of letters that appeared in the network from residents of the U.S., who received from the company detailed service offer by mail. Letters started to be sent on Monday, October 26. They are received only by those who have previously registered on the Starlink website and expressed a desire to participate in an extended commercial testing of the service, reports Arstechnica.
When ordering a set of equipment for $499 the user receives a terminal to connect to satellites, a mounting tripod and a Wi-Fi router. In this case, the mounting tripod is not suitable for mounting the antenna on the roof, for this purpose you need to order an additional special mount, which costs another $ 100. To the final cost of equipment should be added to the local taxes, which differ from state to state and on average will cost about $ 50, and the cost of delivery – about $ 50 more.
As a result, a set of Starlink equipment with roof fasteners and taxes costs about $700. But the first users, who have already received such a set, write in Reddit, that they are very satisfied.
At the same time, users note that the installation of the antenna on the roof ridge (the optimal condition for obtaining a stable signal) – it is not so easy task, as promised by Ilon Mask, when he said that the configuration of the terminal will be extremely simple: “stick in the network and send to the sky. This is also possible, but the quality of communication can “float” a lot, because the number of satellites is still minimal.
As for the technical parameters of the connection, then, as follows from the letter SpaceX, users set up not to expect from the connection something fantastic. Communication will be generally reliable and relatively fast, but there may be short periods of its absence:
“Expect data rates ranging from 50 Mbps to 150 Mbps and a delay of 20ms to 40ms over the next few months as the Starlink system improves. There will also be short periods of connection failure.
As the number of satellites and the number of ground stations increases and our network software improves, the data rate, latency and uptime will improve significantly. We expect that by the summer of 2021 the delay will be reduced to 16-19 msec.
In this way Starlink will provide a fully competitive Internet experience that will not depend on terrestrial operators, line breaks, fiber damage, weather conditions and other problems inherent to terrestrial operators. Another plus is the one-time connection – by purchasing the equipment once further it will be possible to move around the country any number of times and carry your own satellite Internet without waiting for more than a week to connect to a new local operator.
Simultaneously with the mailing of letters in the stores of applications Google Play and Apple iOS there is an application Starlink, with the help of which you can configure your user terminal to the highest quality satellite signal reception.
How many letters SpaceX has sent to the U.S. residents with a proposal for commercial connection is currently unknown. Earlier the company reported that the number of requests for connection on the Starlink website exceeded 700 thousand.
Most likely, the company will try to connect tens of thousands of subscribers before the end of the year. The speed of subscriber base growth will now depend largely on how many sets of equipment the company has already produced and the speed with which its contractors are collecting new ones. As it is known, earlier SpaceX has requested permission from the Communications Commission to issue 1 million Starlink subscriber devices.
At the same time, on one set of equipment SpaceX, most likely, earns no more than $ 50-70 (Musk previously said that the cost of the antenna is about $ 300 and it is not yet possible to reduce it, because the very production of phased array antenna is expensive). The main income the company should start receiving from the subscription fee.
According to SpaceX estimates, the deployment of the Starlink global satellite network will cost at least $10 billion and the implementation of the first phase, which involves putting 14 thousand satellites into orbit, will take about five more years. At the same time Musk is sure that in the second half of the decade the service will bring up to $30 billion a year. It is with this income he hopes to finance the colonization of Mars. The benchmark of 30 billion dollars a year also means that in 5-7 years Musc hopes to have about 25 million subscribers, if the price of connection of $99 per month will not change.