Why Elon Musk is ‘confused’ on what to charge for Starlink superfast Internet

(Business Insider Africa) – SpaceX’s Starlink internet speeds are consistently topping 150 Mbps — now, Elon Musk says the biggest challenge is slashing the $600 upfront cost for users
TODAY AT 11:08 AM | BUSINESS INSIDER USA
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Users on the public beta of Starlink’s satellite-internet service are consistently getting download speeds higher than 150 megabits per second (Mbps), according to the Reddit Starlink community.

The fastest speed recorded on a list compiled by the community was 205.82 Mbps, from a user in Bellevue, Washington. SpaceX has told users to expect speeds between 50 and 150 Mbps.
The Starlink public beta costs $600 up front to join and SpaceX’s “most difficult technical challenge” is bringing that cost down, Elon Musk tweeted Tuesday.
This echoed SpaceX founder Musk’s comments in May, when he said it could take years to make the kit affordable.
The public beta for SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet is consistently topping speeds of 150 megabits per second (Mbps), faster than SpaceX promised and now the biggest technical challenge is making the kit cheaper, CEO Elon Musk said.

Nearly all users who have reported their November speeds on a list compiled by Reddit’s Starlink community said they are getting download speeds higher than 150 Mbps.The fastest download speed was 205.82 Mbps , recorded in Bellevue, Washington.

In an email sent October 26, SpaceX said users on the “Better Than Nothing Beta” test could expect speeds of between 50 Mbps and 150 Mbps. A network of nearly 900 satellites is currently beaming the internet service down to Earth.

The Reddit list shows Starlink speeds over the summer, before public beta launched on October 26, dipped as low as 15 Mbps. SpaceX has warned Starlink subscribers that they may experience “brief periods of no connectivity at all” and users said their internet is indeed cutting out sometimes.

The public beta costs nearly $600 upfront to join: $499 for a tripod, a WiFi router, and a terminal to connect to the Starlink satellites, plus $99 for a monthly subscription.

Reducing the costs of the terminal included in the Starlink kit is SpaceX’s “most difficult technical challenge,” Elon Musk tweeted Tuesday.

His tweet was in response to someone who had just set up a terminal to connect to the Starlink satellites. The user said it was “really cheap.”

Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 3, 2020

This isn’t the first time the SpaceX CEO and founder has stressed the difficulties of making affordable equipment.

In May, Musk said in an interview with Aviation Week that it would take a “few years” to make the terminal affordable for users.

Musk said Monday that thousands more beta invites would go out in the coming days, and that the beta could reach Europe in February.

Read more: Elon Musk personally recruited me to work at SpaceX when it was starting up. He was a relentless problem solver and taught me valuable lessons I use even to this day.

SpaceX has begun testing the satellite-internet service in the northern US. Musk said in a series of emails with SpaceQ Tuesday that the cost of the Starlink kit would be “pretty much” the same in Canada, where a trial is due to start soon, as in the US.

Despite SpaceX struggling to lower the price of the Starlink kit, some users are prepared to pay more . One Reddit user said they bought a sturdier mount for an extra $100.

The ultimate goal of Starlink is to beam internet around the Earth from a network of thousands of satellites.

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