Elon Musk says Starlink will exit its beta phase “next month.”
As it so often goes with Musk, the CEO of Tesla and Space X made the announcement in a tweet with precious few other details. Someone asked Musk when Starlink will leave beta. Musk answered. That was all.
As a quick refresher, Starlink is a platform that uses low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites to beam internet to customers on the ground. Starlink has been available to a limited number of people as part of a beta period, which saw SpaceX build out its satellite array and stabilize connectivity. It’s not a perfect solution, with The Verge detailing how something as simple as a tree in the wrong place could disrupt service.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 17, 2021
Despite issues and still being in beta, the service has so far proven popular in rural Canada, where people are tired of paying exorbitant prices to incumbent operators for service that doesn’t work particularly well.
In August, Ookla released data that showed Starlink offered slightly faster median download speeds in several provinces compared to fixed broadband. However, it’s important to note that people living in urban areas likely have access to high-speed broadband that performs better than Starlink. Still, it’s impressive to see Starlink outperform other internet offerings even in its beta stage.
Once Starlink exits the beta phase, it should be more accessible for people. There’s a steep upfront cost to get it up and running, but the monthly fee may be less than competitors with improved performance, depending on where you live. Those interested can read more about Starlink in Canada here.
However, Starlink’s success may inspire competitors. In August, the Canadian federal government invested $1.44 billion in Telesat, a Canadian satellite internet company aiming to connect 40,000 households with 5G and LTE.
Finally, Musk previously said that Starlink could provide mobile internet services, suggesting that people with RVs could use Starlink to get internet service wherever they are. While that capability isn’t officially available yet, some people have already mounted Starlink terminals to their cars.