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Elon Musk: SpaceX Starlink satellite broadband speeds will double this year

Elon Musk promises Starlink will double download speeds on SpaceX's satellite broadband service.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

SpaceX's satellite broadband service Starlink will begin delivering download speeds of 300 Mbps, or double the top speeds users can currently get on the beta service, at some point this year, according to its CEO Elon Musk.

The Starlink beta is advertised as having data speeds that vary from 50Mb/s to 150Mb/s and latency from 20ms to 40ms. It's targeted at regional areas with poor coverage. Since October it's been charging a fixed fee of $499 for the Wi-Fi router, power supply, cables and mounting tripod, and then a $99 monthly subscription for the satellite broadband service.  

ZDNet sister site CNET notes that SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has now said that Starlink will double the available speeds within the next year. 

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Musk confirmed the speed boost in a tweet responding to a user who tapped Netflix's broadband speed test site fast.com after installing the Starlink dish and reported a speed of 130 Mbps. 

"Speed will double to ~300Mb/s & latency will drop to ~20ms later this year," Musk replied

Starlink users need to install a mobile app and ensure the Starlkink dish has a direct field of view to Starlink's satellites.

"If any object such as a tree, chimney, pole, etc. interrupts the path of the beam, even briefly, your internet service will be interrupted," SpaceX notes.   

Latency, a measure of how long it takes your internet signal to travel to space and back, will also drop to around 20ms this year, according to Musk. Latency of less than 100 ms was one of the key measures SpaceX had to reach in order to participate in the Federal Communication Commission's up to $16bn Rural Digital Opportunity Fund

Starlink currently has over 10,000 users in its North American beta program, according to recent filings with the FCC. It's also delivering services to users in the UK.

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"Over 10,000 users in the United States and abroad are using the service today. While its performance is rapidly accelerating in real time as part of its public beta program, the Starlink network has already successfully demonstrated it can surpass the Commission's "Above Baseline" and "Low Latency" performance tiers," SpaceX said in the document. 

It claims to be able to meet or exceed 100/20 Mbps throughput to individual users, and attaining performance of 95% of network round-trip latency measurements at or below 31 milliseconds. It has also successfully tested a standalone voice service over the Starlink network.

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