Starlink, the constellation for Internet connectivity of SpaceX, can bring ultra-fast internet to England.
Testers in the UK this month began receiving the Starlink Kit, the suite of tools needed to access SpaceX’s online service, which is currently in beta. The company is aiming for ultra-fast gigabit speeds with low latency, which means that consumers can point a dish at the sky and connect online. Customers in the US and Canada joined the service in late 2020, and SpaceX aims to offer coverage to most of the world in 2021.
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For rural and underserved communities, this can be a lifesaver. Living in the “pleasant pastures of England”
The problem, as outlined by Broadband.co.uk’s comparison service, is that many of these idyllic thatched-roof homes tend to go online through telephone lines. Living away from the stock market makes speeds slower than advertised, as well as old equipment and lack of competition. This is the kind of sore point experienced by rural Americans who also cry for Starlink.
SpeedTest data show that the UK ranks 47th in the world in average speeds, far behind Singapore in first place and the United States in 11th place. The switching service USwitch last month found the slowest street in the country with an average speed of just 0.12 megabits per second – the traditional measure of data speeds, where eight megabits make a megabyte.
In its May 2020 communications report, the British regulator Ofcom revealed that five percent of homes do not have access to download speeds of at least 30 megabits per second. The issue became a debate in the 2019 elections.
Starlink can keep the answer – and consumers are already connecting in the “green and pleasant land of England”.
A Reddit user named “fishboy51” shared his settings on Thursday from the village of Burley, nestled in the heart of New Forest.
The picturesque South English Park once served as the royal hunting grounds of William the Conqueror. About 1,000 years later, a resident nearby is already playing on his Xbox with internet speeds of up to 187 megabits per second.
Another user, called OptiSport, shared his connection last week from rural Devon in the south of England – a significant improvement over the previous half-megabit speed.
Starlink offers fast internet speeds, thanks to SpaceX’s plan to orbit satellites much closer to the earth’s surface. The 550-kilometer orbit means that the signal travels less distance before reaching the user. This requires the placement of many more satellites in space, and SpaceX has requested permission to launch up to 42,000.
SpaceX Starlink: what is the price of the beta service?
The price will vary depending on the location.
United States – US users pay $ 499 per month for the Starlink Kit plus $ 99 per month to access the service.
Although the figure is about twice the monthly cost of traditional terrestrial connections, it is comparable to that of Viasat and HughesNet. While HughesNet charges $ 449 in advance for the kit, Viasat only charges $ 299 in advance. Both companies allow consumers to rent the kit instead of less than $ 15 a month.
Canada – Tesla North reports that beta testers in Canada pay $ 649 ($ 510) for the Starlink Kit. The service costs $ 129. ($ 101) per month.
United Kingdom – Teslarati reports that consumers in the UK can expect to pay £ 439 ($ 596) for the Starlink Kit plus £ 54 ($ 73) for shipping, which means a preliminary price of £ 493 ($ 669). The service costs £ 89 ($ 121) per month.
TheMarket found that satellite internet can cost between £ 20 ($ 27) and £ 87 ($ 118) a month, plus setup costs that can reach up to £ 600 ($ 814). This means that the service may have a chance to compete in areas where terrestrial connections are not actually an option.
SpaceX Starlink: how to sign up for the beta service
The official SpaceX Starlink website invites interested fans to enter their email address and service address to check if they qualify for the Better Than Nothing program.
More rural users may struggle to enter their address, as Starlink only accepts addresses recognized by Google. One way to get around this is to enter “Plus Code”:
- Open Google Maps using the website or app.
- Find the correct location on the map. Click and hold the correct point if you use a mouse, or touch and hold if you use a touch screen.
- Click the “entered” label near the bottom.
- The plus code will appear in the list of information next to the “+” symbol. For example, the Plus code for the Tower of London is “GW5F + 6J London”.
- Copy the Plus code and paste it into the Starlink website.
SpaceX Starlink: when does it launch in my area?
Starlink has launched its beta service for users in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Its goal is “almost global coverage of the world’s population by 2021.”
Where could the next one be? In November 2020, CEO Elon Musk suggested that he could introduce a service to consumers in the south of the United States in January. Countries in the European Union can go online in February and March. India may go online by mid-2021. Teslarati reports that the next likely applicants are Australia, Greece and Germany, as these three countries are at an advanced stage in the licensing process.
As the coronavirus pandemic has prompted more people to connect online to stay connected, Starlink may be the ideal way to ensure that underserved communities are not left behind.
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