Starlink’s satellite-internet public beta costs $600 up front, SpaceX says — and some users are dropping even more for better equipment

Image
SpaceX founder Elon Musk. AP Photo
  • SpaceX’s public beta test for Starlink, its satellite-internet project, will cost $US600 up front, it said in an email Monday that was then posted on Reddit’s Starlink community.
  • The “Better Than Nothing Beta” costs $US99 a month, plus $US499 for a kit with a tripod, a WiFi router, and a terminal to connect to the Starlink satellites, the email said.
  • Speeds will vary from 50 Mbps to 150 Mbps, SpaceX said.
  • Some users have said they’re already spending more on fancier gear. One Reddit user said they had spent an extra $US100 on a sturdier mount.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

SpaceX is asking people to spend $US600 up front for the public beta test of Starlink, its satellite-internet service — and some users have already said they will spend more for a better setup.

SpaceX, the aerospace company founded by Elon Musk, sent an email on Monday to an unspecified number of people who showed interest in signing up for the service on the Starlink website. The email, which laid out the costs and projected internet speeds, was then posted on Reddit’s Starlink community.

A subscription to SpaceX’s service, known as the “Better Than Nothing Beta,” is $US99 a month. It costs a further $US499 for the Starlink Kit, which includes a mounting tripod, a WiFi router, and a terminal to connect to the satellites.

“As you can tell from the title, we are trying to lower your initial expectations,” SpaceX said in the email.

“Expect to see data speeds vary from 50Mb/s to 150Mb/s and latency from 20ms to 40ms over the next several months as we enhance the Starlink system. There will also be brief periods of no connectivity at all.”

The company has also released a Starlink app on the Google Play and Apple iOS app stores.

Some users have already said they’re willing to pay for extra equipment.

“Placed my order that came to nearly $US600 after shipping ($US50) and tax. Then I had to place a second order for the ridgeline mount for another $US100,” one Reddit user said. “Worth it!”

Another expressed interest in a more permanent tripod for the kit. “The tripod mount sounds interesting, sort of temporary to find a good installation place,” they said.

Nearly 900 Starlink satellites are in orbit as part of SpaceX’s plan for a high-speed internet network covering the Earth. SpaceX is planning to launch a full public beta test in North America soon.

Musk’s firm has begun testing the service in the northern US and southern Canada. Recently, SpaceX agreed to provide free internet via Starlink’s satellites to 45 families in a Texas school district.