SpaceX’s Starlink satellite broadband may no longer be considered a test. Elon Musk told Twitter users that Starlink should leave the beta ‘next month’ – that is, somewhere in October. Theoretically, you can use the service in more countries faster than usual, or at least without the stigma of beta testing.
By September, the company aimed to provide global coverage. To date, the beta has been largely limited to North America and parts of Europe, with notable exceptions such as Australia, Chile and New Zealand. Planned expansions have so far been limited to Mexico and Japan, but SpaceX has registered subsidiaries in countries such as the Philippines and South Africa.
The formal launch can be crucial. SpaceX said it had sent 100,000 Starlink terminals by the end of August, but that it was likely to swell as the beta label disappeared and more countries gained access. And while satellite services are far from new, Starlink’s high bandwidth and low latency could help narrow the gap for broadband in rural and developing countries, where conventional Internet access is not available or is too slow to be practical.
This is of course on condition that Starlink arrives as promised. Musk and its companies have a history of optimistic schedules for projects that come to a standstill due to technical barriers and other practical realities. A launch in October is definitely out of the question, but you may not want to plan your schedule with the launch yet.
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