Elon Musk’s SpaceX disclosed on Thursday that its Starlink satellite internet service now has “over 10,000 users in the United States and abroad.”
Elon Musk’s SpaceX disclosed on Thursday that its Starlink satellite internet service now has “over 10,000 users in the United States and abroad.”

Elon Musk’s Starlink internet service is currently in beta testing, but the company recently revealed some interesting information about how things are progressing. According to SpaceX, Starlink already has over 10,000 testers actively using the service in the United States and abroad.”

In a filing on Thursday with the Federal Communications Commission, SpaceX noted that the Starlink network’s “performance is not theoretical or experimental,” and that it is “rapidly accelerating in real-time as part of its public beta program,” which sounds a whole lot like a fancy way of saying that things are going as planned.

Starlink is a network of hundreds (and eventually many thousands) of communications satellites that have the potential to provide high-speed data service to virtually any spot on the planet.

The company began launching its satellites several years ago, and while there are only just over 1,000 Starlink satellites in orbit today, SpaceX has been eager to begin testing the service on a small scale.

However, perhaps the most interesting metric by which we can measure the status of Starlink is in its number of active users, and SpaceX also used the FCC filing to reveal that it has over 10,000 users located both in the United States and “abroad.”

The filing’s objective is to have Starlink designated as an eligible telecommunications carrier. This would allow SpaceX to access millions in funding from the Rural Digital Opportunity and increase the reach of its coverage.

We don’t know for sure what “abroad” means in terms of worldwide adoption, but SpaceX did get clearance to test the service in Canada, so that’s likely part of it. There’s still a long way to go before SpaceX can formally roll out Starlink internet service in any country, but things appear to be progressing at a rapid pace.

Elon Musk’s company is offering the service to select customers in the northern U.S., Canada, and the U.K.

Consumers interested in signing up can pre-order on Starlink's website. Orders are delivered on a first-come, first-serve basis, and limited to a select number of users per coverage area.

The hardware required to use Starlink will cost $499, while internet service costs $99 a month.

The hardware kit includes a Starlink, Wi-Fi router, power supply, cables and mounting tripod. A clear view of the sky is required.

What is Starlink?

Starlink is a plan by SpaceX to put 12,000 satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO) that offer high-speed, low-latency, cheap internet access to anyone anywhere on the planet. That’s the end-game. All you would need to use Starlink is a $200 pizza box-sized receiver. Each satellite will talk to four others using lasers as they constantly orbit Earth, together creating a web of Ku-band and Ka-band broadband connectivity as fast as the speed of light that surrounds the planet at all times, and for all locations.

How many people are already using Starlink - Elon Musk’s space-based internet service
A Starlink user terminal installed on the roof of a building in Canada. SpaceX

In order to beam connectivity to the surface, a massive network of ground-based stations will also be necessary. So although 12,000 satellites sounds like a lot, it's only a fraction of the infrastructure that SpaceX will have to construct.

Starlink will happen in phases, but the ultimate goal is to have about 8,000 satellites orbiting just 500km above the planet, and the remaining 4,000 orbiting much higher up, at around 1,200km.

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