You probably know Elon Musk for inventing Tesla, the electric car brand that’s been the go-to automobile for affluent people conscious about their carbon footprint. Or for wanting to populate Mars via the SpaceX program. Or for dating Grimes and giving their firstborn a name straight from a dystopian YA novel. Yes, the guy’s famous, or infamous for that matter, for many reasons.
However, there’s another Elon Musk project that does not get the level of spotlight it deserves. At least compared to other Elon Musk news beats like the dude’s recent controversial appearance on SNL, which prompted some cast members to voice out their frustration over Lorne Michael’s decision to give the billionaire another platform to further ingratiate himself to the public.
We are talking about Starlink. It’s another of Elon Musk’s passion projects, touted to forever alter the landscape of global connectivity.
What is Starlink all about?
Consider this scenario. You run a small business. But you’re on vacation on a remote island where the internet’s virtually non-existent, maybe unheard of. Then you receive a message from one of your staff. The office needs funds ASAP. How can you wire that money?
With Starlink, you can do many things, such as send money online for cash pickup from wherever you are. Even if you’re in the most far-flung place on Earth, Starlink has got your back. Well, at least that’s what the project promises to accomplish. Now, how will that happen?
Starlink is an expansive network of internet satellites spread across space. The first batch of Starlink satellites went into orbit back in 2019. Currently, 1200 satellites are already in orbit. By mid-2027, Starlink aims to have launched 42,000 satellites. These satellites are supposed to connect places on Earth that are difficult to reach via wires and cables to the internet.
While it’s true that an internet connection that’s delivered via fiber-optic cable promises better speed compared to satellite internet, it’s also quite demanding in terms of laying down the necessary infrastructure. That’s the reason why there are still many areas on the globe without internet connection. Sattelite internet seeks to address that problem.
How much does a Starlink subscription cost?
Of course, it’s not free. Elon Musk is a businessman, after all. If you want a Starlink subscription, be ready to shell out $99 a month. On top of that, you need to purchase the Starlink Kit, which will set you back $499. The kit includes a terminal for connecting to the satellites, a WiFi router, and a tripod.
Pre-orders are now offered by the company. If you want to be among the first people to try out Starlink once it’s officially operational, you need to pay a $100 deposit. That amount will be deducted from the price of the Starlink Kit. The beta subscription promises speeds between 50 and 150 Mbps.
Reports from Starlink’s beta subscribers have been generally positive. Some users have even attested to receiving internet speeds as high as 200 Mbps. That’s way above what the company promised. Still, the people behind the project warn beta users of intermittent outages. That is while the technology gets in gear.
Where is Starlink available?
Starlink beta tests its product across parts of the UK, Northwest US, and nearby Canadian territories. Right now, those places already receive internet connection via Starlink. As more satellites go into orbit, the wider the coverage will be. The company needs at least 10,000 satellites in orbit to cover the majority of the planet. Elon Musk targets 2022 for Starlink’s worldwide availability.
Residents from countries including Mexico, New Zealand, and Australia are welcome to preorder. The same goes for those living in the US, Canada, and UK areas that have yet to be covered by the service. This year, Starlink will extend its network to the Caribbean, Spain, India, Italy, and Japan.
Starlink’s internet connection will also service moving vehicles, such as RVs, ships, and planes. Antennas will be mounted on these vehicles to receive feeds from Starlink’s scattered satellites across space.
Whether you like Elon Musk or not, or whether you can get behind what he represents or not, it’s undeniable that he’s an interesting character. He’s the kind of person you’ll probably want to hang out with, if only so you’ll get the chance to punch him in the face and laugh about it after.
His Starlink project has all the trappings of game-changing technology. We can only hope that it’s truly for the good of many. And not just for the good of those likely affluent people Elon wants to take to Mars with him.