Advanced Television

SpaceX prices Starlink services

October 28, 2020

By Chris Forrester

Elon Musk’s Starlink service will cost US rural subscribers $99 (€84) a month. The beta-test users will also have to pay $499 for the phased-array ground terminal, a tripod stand for the antenna and a WiFi router.

This price seems high, but for rural and frequently isolated potential users it could prove invaluable.

The pricing strategy came in an email from Starlink to potential users that was leaked to business news channel CNBC. Users were warned that there could be brief periods of “no service at all” but generally they’d enjoy speeds of between 50 Mb/s-150 Mb/s with latency of 20-40ms.

The email said that service and speed would improve over the next few months as the Starlink fleet expanded. Starlink says that by next summer its typical latency would be in the 16-19ms range.

Potential users in Washington state, Wisconsin and Idaho seem to be the focus of the invitation.

While $99 per month might seem expensive when compared with bandwidth from cable and other ISPs in the US, if a client doesn’t have one of those suppliers then the service might be a lifesaver and, to quote SpaceX, “is better than nothing”.

The nearest direct comparison comes from California-based Viasat which offers rural users speeds of up to 50 Mb/s for about $170/month.

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