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SpaceX Starlink's public beta begins: it prices $ 99 monthly plus $ 500 upfront

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Enlarge /. A SpaceX Starlink user terminal / satellite dish.

SpaceX has started sending email invitations to Starlink's public beta. Beta users are charged $ 99 per month plus a one-time fee of $ 499 for the user terminal, mounting tripod, and router. The emails will be sent to people who have previously registered an interest in the service on the Starlink website. A person in Washington state who received the email posted it on Reddit. Another person who lives in Wisconsin received the invitation to the public beta from Starlink and emailed the details to Ars.

SpaceX is calling it the "Better Than Nothing" beta, possibly in part because the Starlink satellite service is most useful for people who cannot get cable or fiber broadband. However, the email also states, "As you can see from the title, we are trying to lower your initial expectations."

The rest of the email is as follows:

Expect data speeds to vary between 50Mbps and 150Mbps and latency between 20ms and 40ms over the next few months as we improve the Starlink system. There will also be short periods of no connectivity.

As we launch more satellites, install more ground stations, and improve our network software, data speed, latency, and uptime will improve dramatically. For latency, we expect 16 to 19 ms by summer 2021.

The Starlink Phased Array User Terminal, which is more advanced than jet fighter jets, as well as mounting a tripod and WiFi router, costs $ 499, and the monthly subscription is $ 99.

The email will then contain a link for the order service. Apparently there is no data limit. A Starlink mobile app that beta users can use to set up and manage the service has also been put online in the Apple App Store and Google Play.

There's another Reddit thread with speculation about when user terminals (i.e. satellite dishes) will arrive at people's homes, but we haven't seen any set delivery dates.

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Steven Gregory