SpaceX is reporting “extraordinary demand” for Starlink, its upcoming satellite internet service.
In an FCC filing, SpaceX says that nearly 700,000 people signed up for its email newsletter, which will notify people when the satellite broadband service will arrive in their local areas.
“Despite the fact that SpaceX has yet to formally advertise this system’s services, nearly 700,000 individuals represented in all 50 states signed up over a matter of just days to register their interest in said services at www.starlink.com,” the company wrote in the filing, which was first spotted by CNBC.
Pricing for Starlink has not yet been revealed, and anyone can sign up for these emails. So 700,000 newsletter sign-ups doesn’t necessarily mean 700,000 new customers. But SpaceX is still asking the FCC to bump up the number of user terminals it can run over the satellite broadband system from 1 million to 5 million units, CNBC reports.
The company is preparing to kick off a public beta of Starlink in the coming weeks for those in the northern US and lower Canada. The email newsletter will include notifications about upcoming beta tests.
Once up and running, the satellite internet service will offer fast broadband across the planet. According to SpaceX, the speeds will reach up to 1Gbps with a latency ranging between 25 to 35 milliseconds, on par with ground-based broadband services.
The current challenge facing Starlink is getting enough satellites in orbit around the planet. Currently, SpaceX only has about 540 satellites in place when thousands will be needed to provide global coverage. As a result, Starlink will initially only be available for consumers based in “higher latitudes,” such as Seattle and Germany.
Expect Starlink to officially launch before the year ends. However, it’ll face competition from rival satellite broadband services, including Amazon’s Project Kuiper, which recently received FCC authorization to launch over 3,000 satellites.
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