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What is Starlink? Satellite Internet from SpaceX

Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO, is planning on using orbiting satellites to deliver high-speed internet to the world via an initiative called Starlink. 

Starlink is the name given to the network of satellites and started gaining traction last year in 2021. It now has nearly 2,000 satellites currently in orbit and more than 10,000 customers waiting to receive equipment and service. 

Ok, but what is Starlink? 

Starlink is the name of the satellite network, and is a branch of SpaceX. The first prototype satellites launched way back in 2018. The total number of satellites sits at 1,993. 

These satellites will basically provide internet connection, particularly those in rural areas who don’t already have access to high speed broadband. 

The service is only available in specific areas of the US and Canada at the moment. But the coverage map will grow exponentially. 

How fast will the internet be? 

The website states that data speeds will vary from 50 to 150 megabits per second, but will improve dramatically when the network grows. Musk tweeted last year that he expects the service to double its speeds to 300 Mbps by the end of 2021. 

How much will it cost? 

What is Starlink? Satellite Internet from SpaceX

Right now, you can buy it on a first-come, first-serve basis. So there will be a backlog of queued customers. 

The cost is billed at $99 per month plus taxes and fees. That’s not including the initial payment of $499 for the dish and router you’ll need at home. 

That might all seem really expensive at first, but Musk ensures the cost is worth it for people who haven’t had reliable or fast internet at all. 

Ok, but aren’t satellites a thing of the past? 

True, fiber optic cables have been overtaking the internet game for a while now with super fast download and internet speeds. But, the infrastructure needed to deliver fiber optics to people’s homes is extremely difficult. 

Starlink’s satellite internet won’t have super top speeds due to the transmission distance. But it does at least promise to improve upon existing satellite connections due to the lower orbit altitude. 

Are there other issues with Starlink's satellites?

There might not be other concerns with the technology, but there are a lot of concerns with the environmental impact. There will be a huge proliferation of satellites in space. I’m sure people feel about this the same way they felt about increased construction in their beautiful land.

The International Astronomical Union did release a statement warning of consequences on stargazing and protection of nocturnal wildlife since these satellites will illuminate the night sky. 

We’ll update more here if there are significant changes in the Starlink program!