Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite Internet service is set to launch in beta in the near future, according to reports from users who have signed up for early access to the service.
Users who expressed interest in the satellite Internet product and provided their ZIP codes to the company have received emails requesting their full address.
“The Starlink team is now accepting addresses (instead of just ZIP codes) at starlink.com, which will improve our ability to provide location-specific updates as our network develops,” the company said in an email update which was later posted by users to Reddit.
“Starlink private beta begins this summer with a public beta to follow. If you are signed up for updates, we will notify you if beta testing opportunities become available in your area.”
Users quickly data-mined the Starlink website and found more information regarding the upcoming beta, which will give users an opportunity to try out the Internet service before the official launch.
According to this information, the beta will begin in the United States and Canada, with availability depending on the user’s location and their view of the northern sky.
“Your Starlink dish requires a clear view of the northern sky in order to communicate with the Starlink satellites,” the information states.
“Without a clear view, the Starlink dish cannot make a good connection and your service will be extremely poor.”
Beta testers will not be charged for their Internet service, aside from a $1 once-off charge to test the billing system.
Users who are granted access to the private beta programme will receive a Starlink dish, power supply, and mount via international shipping.
What to expect
Starlink aims to provide high-speed Internet across the globe through a mega-constellation of small satellites.
These satellites will provide gigabit Internet speeds and latency between 25ms and 35ms, according to a filing made with the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) in 2016.
In May 2019, Musk claimed that latency could be brought down to 10ms over time.
Each Starlink satellite weighs approximately 260kg and comes with a compact, flat-panel design that minimises the amount of volume it takes up.
This has allowed SpaceX to launch dense stacks of the satellites on its Falcon 9 rocket over the last two years.
To date, 540 of the satellites have been launched.