SpaceX’s Starlink is the real deal, according to early test users.
This past weekend, test kits for SpaceX’s satellite internet service began arriving to the first public beta users. And many are reporting that the service is indeed fast. “Starlink is a game changer, before I was getting 0.5-12mb/s (Mbps) now I get 100-160mb/s,” wrote one test user.
Lucky consumers who received an invite to the Starlink public beta have been posting their early impressions on Reddit after installing the satellite dish system at their homes.
Another user, who is based in rural Montana, posted a speed test showing his connection reaching 174Mbps—perhaps the highest download speed for Starlink we’ve seen so far. Meanwhile, the latency averaged at 33 milliseconds, which is on par with ground-based internet services.
One user also successfully tested Starlink within a national forest—which normally has no cell phone reception. “Works beautifully. I did a real time video call and some tests,” the user posted while noting the Starlink dish works best with a clear view of the sky.
On the down side, the upload rate for Starlink is far lower with users posting speed test scores showing the service reaching between 33Mbps to 15Mbps.
Another area where Starlink can struggle is sustaining an uninterrupted internet connection, which is necessary for online gaming or voice calls.
“My kids said games disconnect every 2 to 3 minutes. Also can't even log in into (the game) Star Citizen,” wrote one test user based in Idaho. “YouTube and streaming works great. Also Wi-Fi calling works, but drops calls. Longest uninterrupted call was 21 minutes.”
The reasons may be due to satellite coverage. Currently, SpaceX is only operating about 800 satellites to power Starlink; the goal is to launch thousands more to supply higher internet speeds and reduce the latency. The company is targeting a global launch for Starlink next year.
To receive access to the public beta, you can sign up on Starlink.com via the email newsletter. SpaceX is charging $99 a month for the service. Beta users must also pay $499 for the satellite dish and router.
The public beta is currently targeting users in the northern US, including parts of Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin, according to users who received an invite.
If you’ve received early access to Starlink, let us know at [email protected]. We’d like to know how the experience has been.
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