CEO Elon Musk mentioned the timetable in a Wednesday tweet. “Private beta begins in ~3 months, public beta in ~6 months, starting with high latitudes,” he said. In another tweet, Musk said the German market qualifies as high altitude.
Dubbed Starlink, the upcoming service is promising to bring fast and affordable internet to any location in the world. It’ll be particularly appealing for people who live in remote areas or underserved markets with few options for home broadband. Expect download speeds of up to 1Gbps with a latency ranging between 25 to 35 milliseconds, on par with ground-based broadband services.
Although satellite internet is nothing new, SpaceX’s network is designed to achieve faster speeds by using low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. The plan is to have them fly around the planet from a distance of 200 miles to 700 miles above the surface while they ferry data between ground stations and internet users below.
To get the service up and running, the company has been securing approval from regulators to launch as many as 40,000 satellites in the coming years. On Wednesday, the company successfully deployed another 60 Starlink satellites into space for a total of 420 currently in operation.
According to its website, SpaceX’s goal is to launch the broadband service for the US and Canada later this year. Starlink is then scheduled to go global in 2021. Cost has not been announced, but the company plans on supplying customers with a Starlink terminal you can easily place in your home.