SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said on Tuesday that Starlink, SpaceX’s satellite internet network, recently passed 70,000 active users. He expects a faster pace of growth over the next year ahead.
Musk spoke at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona. “We are on our way to having a few hundred thousand users, possibly over 500,000 users within 12 months,” he said.
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Starlink Offers High-Speed Internet To Remote Areas
Starlink is SpaceX’s capital-intensive project aiming to build an interconnected internet network, In particular, it uses a constellation, or thousands of connected satellites to deliver high-speed internet to consumers anywhere on the planet.
Now Starlink is the world’s largest satellite constellation, with more than 1,500 Starlink satellites launched to orbit to date.
It first rolled out its service with a beta program for select consumers for $99 a month. Last year, the company applied for regulatory approval to test the network inflight. It also plans to test the service’s effectiveness in large moving vehicles.
500,000 Orders For Spacelink
SpaceX last month said that Starlink received more than half a million orders and deposits. The company clarified that these orders are not a guarantee that the sender will receive approval.
In addition, Musk said that the user base for the satellite internet service grew significantly. From 10,000 users in February, it's now up to “the strategically notable number of 69,420 active users.”
Still, many internet users remain intrigued with Starlink. It offers the best chance of getting internet access in remote areas.
In addition, the low altitude of SpaceX’s satellites decreases latency, or transmission delay, compared to traditional satellite services. Low latency and high download speeds are the things users look for in an internet service provider.
“The latency for the Starlink system is similar to latency for ground-based fiber and 5G, so we’re expecting to get latency down under 20 milliseconds,” Musk said. In addition, Starlink is “operational now in about 12 countries, and more are being added every month,” he added.
Losing Money On Hardware
Musk also admitted that the company loses money on its satellite antennas for customers. Each hardware costs around $1,300 each but SpaceX charges users $499.
Hopefully, Starlink gets some new equipment ready. “We’re working on a next-generation terminal that provides the same level of capability, roughly same level capability, but costs a lot less,” Musk said.
In addition, Musk noted that SpaceX is getting closer to launching next-generation versions of its Starlink satellites. He said that satellite 1.5 is close to launching. The new version features laser inter-satellite links.
These links help maintain continuous connectivity over the Arctic and Antarctic regions. “Next year we’ll start launching version two of our satellite, which will be significantly more capable,” Musk added.
Watch Bloomberg QuickTake Now’s video reporting that Elon Musk’s Starlink to deliver internet to users within weeks:
Do you have plans to subscribe to Starlink? Existing users of Starlink, how is the internet service?
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