SpaceX’s Starlink satellite broadband might not be considered a test for much longer. Elon musk told Twitter users that Starlink is expected to exit beta “next month”, that is, in October. You could theoretically use the service faster than usual in more countries, or at least without the stigma of beta testing involved.
The company had aimed for full global coverage by September. To date, the beta has been largely limited to North America and parts of Europe, with notable exceptions like Australia, Chile, and New Zealand. Planned expansions have so far been limited to Mexico and Japan, but SpaceX has registered affiliates in countries like the Philippines and South Africa.
The formal launch could be crucial. SpaceX said it shipped 100,000 Starlink devices at the end of August, but that number is likely to rise as the beta tag disappears and more countries gain access to it. And while satellite service is far from new, Starlink’s high bandwidth and low latency could help close the gap for broadband in rural areas and developing countries where conventional internet access is available. is either unavailable or too slow to be practical.
This is, of course, provided that Starlink arrives as promised. Musk and his companies have a history of upbeat timelines for projects that are blocked by technical hurdles and other practical realities. An October launch is certainly not out of the question, but you might not want to plan your timeline around that launch just yet.
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