Musk Teases Test of Satellite Broadband Following Latest Launch

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. may soon debut a test of its Starlink broadband satellite system in parts of North America, founder Elon Musk said following the company’s latest launch.

“Once these satellites reach their target position, we will be able to roll out a fairly wide public beta in northern US & hopefully southern Canada,” Musk tweeted. “Other countries to follow as soon as we receive regulatory approval.”

SpaceX launched its 13th Starlink deployment mission Tuesday from Cape Canaveral, Florida, adding 60 small satellites to its constellation and taking the total launched to nearly 800. SpaceX says the network, in low-Earth orbit, will beam reliable broadband to remote areas that conventional internet providers can’t reach economically.

Read more: Elon Musk’s New Big Thing Is 40,000 Satellites Beaming Broadband

The network had achieved test download speeds of greater than 100 megabits per second, a SpaceX engineer said in a video for a recent launch. That speed is on par with conventional broadband.

Emergency responders working after wildfires in Washington state tweeted last month that their efforts were supported by SpaceX’s broadband service.

@waEMD

Happy to have the support of @SpaceX’s Starlink internet as emergency responders look to help residents rebuild the town of Malden, WA that was overcome by wildfires earlier this month. #wawildfire9:19 PM · Sep 28, 2020

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While technology and launch costs have declined over the years, other ventures have failed in similar efforts to use space to provide internet service. Questions also remain over how much SpaceX will charge consumers.

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