WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
If you live anywhere that doesn’t have great, or any, internet connectivity then this is for you as space internet systems help finally connect everyone on the planet.
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The world of communications is being both transformed and disrupted by the arrival of technologies such as 5G, with 6G in development, and space based constellations of satellites like Elon Musk’s StarLink system that can now deliver fast broadband to anywhere on the planet.
After multiple successful field trials and speed tests, and as it continues to build out its constellation of satellites designed to blanket the Earth in high-speed broadband, SpaceX have just announced a new premium version of its Starlink internet. Using a bigger antenna high end users will soon be able to tap into much faster download speeds, though they can expect to pay a pretty penny for the service.
SpaceX began launching its Starlink satellites into space back in 2019, seeking to establish a network of satellites that beam high-speed internet back to Earth to offer connectivity across the globe. There are now almost 1,800 of them in action as the company rapidly expands its coverage, though not without controversy as astronomers increasingly find their observations contaminated by bright streaks of light as the satellites are blasted into space.
Standard Starlink users are able to tap into download speeds of 50 to 250 Mbps with 20 to 40 ms latency, while Starlink Premium users will have access to download speeds of 150 to 500 Mbps at the same latency, according to SpaceX. Upload speeds have also been doubled from 10 to 20 Mbps to 20 to 40 Mbps.
SpaceX says the Premium service is designed for improved performance in extreme weather, and is aiming it at high-demand users who it says will experience “bandwidth for critical operations even during times of peak network usage.” Users will also have access to 24/7 prioritized support, and as with the standard service, there are no contracts or data caps.
It will cost a great deal more than the standard service, however, at $500 a month compared to $99. There is also a $2,500 upfront fee for the antenna and other hardware, five times the $499 setup cost of the standard plan. SpaceX says the first deliveries will take place in the second quarter of this year.