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As Starlink speeds soar, Musk says main challenge is making it cheaper – Business Insider – Business Insider

  • Users in the public beta of Starlink’s satellite-internet service on the Reddit Starlink community have consistently reported download speeds faster than 150 megabits per second.
  • The fastest speed recorded on a list compiled by the community was 205.82 Mbps, in Bellevue, Washington. SpaceX has told users to expect speeds between 50 and 150 Mbps.
  • The Starlink public beta costs $600 up front to join — and SpaceX’s “most difficult technical challenge” is bringing that cost down, Elon Musk tweeted on Monday.
  • Musk said in May that it could take years to make the kit affordable.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Users in the public beta of SpaceX’s Starlink satellite-internet service have consistently reported speeds faster than 150 megabits per second, faster than SpaceX promised — and now the biggest technical challenge is making the Starlink kit cheaper, CEO Elon Musk said.

Nearly all users who reported November speeds on a list compiled by Reddit’s Starlink community said they were getting download speeds faster than 150 Mbps. The fastest download speed was 205.82 Mbps, recorded in Bellevue, Washington.

In an email on October 26, SpaceX said users in the “Better Than Nothing Beta” test — which involves a network of nearly 900 satellites beaming the internet service down to Earth — could expect speeds of between 50 and 150 Mbps.

The Reddit list indicates that Starlink speeds over the summer, before the public beta launched on October 26, dipped as low as 15 Mbps. SpaceX told Starlink subscribers that they might experience “brief periods of no connectivity at all” — and users said their internet was indeed cutting out sometimes.

The public beta costs nearly $600 up front to join: $499 for a tripod, a WiFi router, and a terminal to connect to the Starlink satellites, plus $99 for a monthly subscription.

Reducing the costs of the terminal included in the Starlink kit is SpaceX’s “most difficult technical challenge,” Musk tweeted on Monday.

His tweet was in response to someone who said that they had just set up a terminal to connect to the Starlink satellites and that it was “really cheap.”

This isn’t the first time the SpaceX CEO and founder has stressed the difficulties of making affordable equipment.

In May, Musk said in an interview with Aviation Week that it would take a “few years” to make the terminal affordable for users.

Musk said on Monday that thousands more beta invites would go out in the coming days and that the beta could reach Europe in February.

Read more: Elon Musk personally recruited me to work at SpaceX when it was starting up. He was a relentless problem solver and taught me valuable lessons I use even to this day.

SpaceX has begun testing the satellite-internet service in the northern US. Musk told SpaceQ on Tuesday that the cost of the Starlink kit would be “pretty much” the same in Canada, where a trial is set to start soon, as in the US.

Though SpaceX has struggled to lower the price of the Starlink kit, some users are prepared to pay more. One Reddit user said they bought a sturdier mount for an extra $100.

Starlink’s goal is to beam internet around the Earth from a network of thousands of satellites.

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