Emails as seen by Reuters have revealed that SpaceX will be offering the Starlink broadband satellite internet service at an initial price of $99 a month to test users. The emails have stated that there will be a $499 fee for a setup kit, as the space company continues their pursuit of offering fast internet speeds to rural customers with limited options.
Invitations for the “Better Than Nothing Beta” test have already been sent to customers across the nation in states like Washington, Wisconsin and Idaho who expressed interest in testing Starlink internet. However, SpaceX has declined to comment on the recent development.
SpaceX has already launched more than 800 satellites of the several thousands to orbit in a bid to deliver broadband internet globally. The $10 billion investment is said to have the potential of generating more than $30 billion annually, which could help in funding Musk’s interplanetary rocket program tagged Starship.
The Starlink Beta program will be rivaling the likes of OneWeb, the collapsed satellite operator that was saved by the British government,India’s Bharti Group and Jeff Bezos’ Amazon AMZN.O set out to offer their own broadband satellite networks.
“As you can tell from the title, we are trying to lower your initial expectations,” according to the SpaceX email. “Expect to see data speeds vary from 50Mb/s to 150Mb/s and latency from 20ms to 40ms over the next several months as we enhance the Starlink system,” the email continued, speeds that would download a full-length movie in 30 minutes to over an hour.
“There will also be brief periods of no connectivity at all,” the email added.
According to a user who has paid $578 for the Starlink kit, which include shipping and handling, a SpaceX note stated that they “can send everything back for a 75% refund” if they are unsatisfied with the service.
Global communications company ViaSatis also offering rural internet with speeds of up to 50Mb/s for roughly $170 per month, according to the company’s website.
Different institutions, including Washington State’s emergency agency, a school in Texas, and the rural Hoh Indian Tribe on Washington’s Pacific Coast are early testers of the service and have not been required to pay a dime.
According to a company official who spoke with Reuters, the company is planning to take the satellite internet business public.
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