SpaceX recently launched the Starlink official app for theirStarlink satellite broadband internet service. The app is available for iOS and Android devices, allowing users to easily manage their connection. However, users are required to be a part of the official beta program as well as the initial public rollout, which will be launched in the coming days.
The app also serves as a guide to users of the broadband internet service, providing them with tips on how to install the Starlink receiver dish and connection status (including signal quality). The app also provides an overview for devices connected to the network and serves as a speed test tool. The app shares similar features with other mobile apps for managing home Wi-Fi connections and routers.
The initial public beta test is tagged the “Better Than Nothing Beta Program,” and it will be officially launched across the United States and Canada before the end of 2020, matching up with timelines earlier stated by the company.
Reports have it that SpaceX hopes to set expectations for early customers with download speeds of between 50Mb/s and 150Mb/sand latency of 20ms to 40ms, with some periods including no connectivity at all. While the expectations are seemingly low, the accuracy of the values will offer a major improvement to users, especially in hard-to-reach areas where service is currently expensive, unreliable and operating at snail speed.
The emails from SpaceX also addressed the issue of pricing, with the cost for customers participating in the beta program set at $99 monthly and a one-time cost of $499 for the hardware. The cost will include the mounting kit and receiver dish and a router with Wi-Fi networking capabilities.
The primary goal of the SpaceX team with Starlink is to provide low-latency, reliable broadband that ensures consistent connection by handing off connectivity between large constellations of small satellites circling the globe in low-Earth orbit. SpaceX already has close to a thousand of satellites in orbit and hopes to launch several thousands more before reaching global coverage and offering general availability of its services.
SpaceX has also announced some initial commercial partnerships and pilot programs for Starlink, including collaboration with Microsoft to connect the company’s mobile Azure data centers, and a project with an East Texas school board for local community connection.
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