Satellite internet is a great idea for a number of reasons though the most important is that you can get internet to folks in remote regions.
It’s one of the reasons we were so excited to see SpaceX’s Starlink becoming a reality. While satellite internet has been around for years, the cost of launching a satellite into low-Earth orbit is immense. For Starlink this is less of an issue as it has SpaceX to make use of.
But Starlink will still be costly with reports revealing that participation in the service’s beta testing phase will cost $99 (~R1 602) per month.
Oh and there’s also an $499 (~R8 078) fee payable for the Starlink kit which contains a user terminal, WiFi router and a mounting tripod.
That’s a lot of money for an internet connection and we haven’t even arrived at the worst part yet.
This testing phase has been christened “Better Than Nothing Beta” according to CNBC and that’s because the quality of service will vary wildly.
“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. There will also be brief periods of no connectivity at all,” an email reportedly sent to users by Starlink read.
That’s not the best deal if we’re honest but then again, this is a beta test. Also, given Elon Musk’s propensity to charge more for a product initially so that the cost of the technology comes down, we hope that the $99 per month fee comes down.
For now, Starlink’s Better Than Nothing Beta is only available in the US and Canada though it will head to other parts of the world in 2021.