Elon Musk is known, both in good and in bad ways, for making seemingly outlandish claims about technologies and the future. What sets him apart is that he often does manage to pull it off, as evidenced by SpaceX’s results and, now, his Starlink satellite constellation. Controversial right from the get-go, the Internet service that will litter the skies with small satellites has just begun its public beta and, despite having just a fraction of the target satellites, testers are already impressed with the service’s promise.
Creating an almost literal Skynet, SpaceX’s Starlink aims to provide Internet access for all, including and especially underserved areas. What better way to test that theory than actually trying out the service in areas where traditional cable Internet or cellular service can’t even reach, like out in the wilderness or forest.
That’s exactly what Reddit user wandering-coder did and managed to clock in 120 Mbps speeds on Fast.com. Other beta users have also reported very good numbers in the more traditional settings of their homes. That despite Elon Musk trying to temper expectations by lowering its advertised speeds to vary between 50 to 150 Mbps. Beta tester’s results mostly confirmed those speeds with latencies that allowed for 1440p or even 4K streaming with no buffering.
This is pretty much vindication for Musk’s venture that has been heavily criticized for polluting the night sky and obstructing astrophotography, especially amateur ones. Musk boasts that things will get even better soon, especially considering Starlink doesn’t even have half the intended number of satellites operational.
There are, of course, certain drawbacks to Starlink, at least at this current beta stage. Testers were already warned that there might be disconnections, although short, and some have theorized it may be due to switching from one satellite to another. There’s also the fact that, at the moment, coverage is pretty much limited to certain latitudes in the northern atmosphere. Finally, there’s the $600 upfront cost, $499 for the startup kit and fee and $99 for a monthly subscription, though some have expressed willingness to pay this price for what might be the Internet service of the future.