How Elon Musk & SpaceX Could Save You Money on Broadband Internet
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SpaceX is using Starlink satellites to bring broadband internet to every corner of the world!
Once considered a luxury, high-speed internet service has become an essential utility for so many American homes. The coronavirus pandemic really underscored the need for high-speed internet when so many people began working and learning from home. Without reliable internet service, many rural communities and other underserved areas struggled to stay connected.
Now, Elon Musk and his aerospace company SpaceX are on a mission to cover the entire planet with high-speed, low-latency, broadband internet. This satellite-based internet service is called Starlink, and it will reach areas of the world where connectivity has typically been a challenge in the past.
Starlink has been tested in remote areas of the Pacific Northwest, where it showed favorable results and impressive download speeds. It’s getting rave reviews from groups like these first responders and members of the Hoh Tribe, who report feeling as if their reservation has been “catapulted into the 21st century.”
Starlink’s beta-testing phase is currently expanding, and it’s now open to members of the public in select areas.
How is Starlink different from other internet service providers?
SpaceX is in the process of sending thousands of small Starlink satellites into orbit, which form constellations of flying routers that beam internet connectivity back to Earth. These low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites are over 60 times closer to Earth than traditional satellites, allowing for a stronger and faster internet connection than other space-based internet service providers.
Although Starlink warns that speeds in its current beta period will vary from 50Mb/s to 150Mb/s and latency from 20ms to 40ms (along with brief periods of no connectivity at all), it’s currently providing steady 100/20Mbps internet speeds to the 10,000+ beta testers who are already using it.
The company promises that data speed, latency, and uptime will improve dramatically in the coming months as the company launches more satellites, installs more ground stations, and improves its networking software.
How do I sign up for Starlink Satellite Internet?
Although Starlink internet isn’t yet widely available, you can now preorder a Starlink Kit for a $99 deposit. Starlink Kits contain a router, antenna, power supply, and mount (as shown above). Note that at this time, there are limited spots available, and preorders will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.
To preorder, head on over to Starlink’s website and follow the steps below:
- Enter your email and physical address to receive an estimate for when Starlink coverage will be available in your area.
- If coverage isn’t currently available where you live, you’ll pay a $99 (fully refundable) deposit for a “priority position” on Starlink’s waiting list. Your deposit will be deducted from the cost of services once coverage begins.
- If coverage is now available in your area, you’ll be charged for the hardware and your first month of service when you check out today.
So what are the cost of services for Starlink Satellite Internet?
Once Starlink Internet is available in your area, you will need to purchase the required hardware for $499, which includes a Starlink satellite dish for your home, a Wi-Fi router, a power supply, cables, and a mounting tripod. There will also be a $50 fee for shipping any applicable taxes, plus the $99 per month cost of internet services.
So how is Starlink going to save anybody money, when Americans typically pay around $60/month (on average) for broadband internet service?
Keep in mind that the cost of your Starlink hardware is the purchase price, meaning that you’ll own it outright and you won’t incur any of the additional rental fees charged by traditional internet service providers. The $499 cost of Starlink equipment seems to be in line with what other providers would charge you to purchase their hardware, as some people choose to do in an effort to avoid rental fees.
Beyond the cost of equipment, saving money with Starlink all depends on how you use the internet.
Early results from beta testing have shown a lightning-fast internet performance previously unseen from other satellite systems. Users are reporting speedy download and upload rates, along with a low round-trip travel time for data. This means Starlink will provide fluid video conferencing, voice calls, gaming, and other real-time applications that may typically lag with your current provider.
Also, data caps are normally a huge drawback of satellite internet and tend to be much lower than what you’d get from earthbound ISPs. Starlink recently confirmed that there are NO data caps with its internet service, which could be a massive bonus for you if you’re working or learning from home, or if you do a lot of streaming.
Even if you decide Starlink is not for you, there is still a way you can save on your internet bill.
My Hip teammate Bryn has Starlink Internet available in her area so before signing up, she gave her current internet provider a call to see if she could negotiate her rate since there is a new and very buzz-worthy competitor in town. Not only did they double the speed of her internet access, but they also dropped $50 off her monthly rate! 😱
Still interested in giving Starlink Satellite Internet a try? Head on over here to see if this service is available near you, or to preorder your kit. You can cancel your order at any time in the Customer Account Portal if you change your mind. There are no contracts and you can return your Starlink Kit within 30 days of shipment for a full refund.