SpaceX’s Starlink service will show radical improvements in performance as it reaches near-global availability in 2021.
According to a recent tweet from SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Starlink’s speeds will increase to around 300Mbps and average latency will drop to about 20ms later this year.
The service currently offers users speeds varying from 50Mbps to 150Mbps, while latency ranges between 20ms and 40ms.
Musk also said that most of the Earth will have active Starlink coverage by the end of 2021, with complete coverage reached by 2022.
From then the focus will be on densifying coverage for continued improvements.
Musk added, however, that cellular connectivity would remain best in more populated locations.
“Important to note that cellular will always have the advantage in dense urban areas. Satellites are best for low to medium population density areas,” Musk stated.
The journey to 10Gbps
The increase to 300Mbps will come as no surprise to keen Starlink observers, as it is well-known that the service’s performance is expected to improve as more of its satellites come online in the coming months and years.
The company reached the milestone of more than 1,000 satellites launched into orbit in early February.
These form part of the first phase of 1,440 satellites, which is only a fraction of the larger constellation of around 12,000 Starlink satellites approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
SpaceX originally anticipated that it could offer download speeds of around 1Gbps.
However, a more recent update to the FCC revealed that the company was now aiming for 10Gbps download speeds, a ten-fold increase.
SpaceX has told the FCC it is building to launching 120 satellites per month, which would equate to 1,440 per year.
It has already filed an application for an additional 30,000 satellites to be deployed with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
Unless it radically speeds up turnaround time for its launches, that would mean it could take around 20 years to launch all of its planned satellites.