Graphic shows how the Starlink system works.


Elon Musk’s Starlink internet satellites begin beta testing

By Ninian Carter

November 17, 2020 - SpaceX is inviting select people in the U.S. and Canada to test its Starlink service – a constellation of hundreds of small satellites designed to deliver high-speed internet around the planet.

SpaceX’s Starlink internet service has started sending out beta invites in southern Canada, following a similar initiative in the northern United States.

The public beta is being offered between the latitudes of 44° and 52° North, which approximately covers an 800 kilometre wide swathe of land across North America with the U.S.-Canada border running down the centre.

Invites say Starlink internet will cost $129 per month in Canada ($99 in the U.S.), with an initial setup fee for a special receiver dish and modem costing $649 ($499, U.S.).

Starlink is a satellite internet constellation still under under construction. When completed within a decade, at a cost of $10 billion, some 12,000 low-orbit satellites will bring internet access to rural areas around the world, as well as offering lower latency communications between countries.

For example, it is estimated that Starlink will be able to shave 17 milliseconds off current computer-to-computer optical fibre cable speeds between London and New York.

Speed is a crucial aspect of stock market trading and SpaceX intends to sell premium stock exchange memberships that could earn the company $30bn-$50bn a year. Currently SpaceX's annual revenue is around $3bn a year.

In the long term, with an income of this size, SpaceX would have more money at its disposal than NASA, and could pave the way for developing costly future lunar and martian colonies.

PUBLISHED: 17/11/2020; STORY: Graphic News