Having launched over 900 Starlink satellites to date, SpaceX has started its “better than nothing beta” test of the Starlink service. Initial customers in the northern US and Canada are sent invitations for the new service, costing $499 for equipement and $99 per month.
As part of the Starlink rollout, SpaceX is offering free service to a number of underserved communities:
- The Hoh Tribe, an indigenous Community in Washington State;
- The Pikangikum First Nation, an indigenous Community in Canada;
- The Ector County Independent School District in Odessa, Texas.
These communities test the service in remote areas for free, and Spacex gets favorable press coverage.
As beta testing expands geographically, SpaceX will have excellent opportunities to test systems and make a big difference in communities across the planet. In order to maximize benefits, SpaceX should prioritize schools, probably in concert with GIGA.
Since the network is global, Starlink will see very rapid growth as the initial phase of 1440 satellites are deployed in 2021.