Starlink Raises Download Speed Goal From 1Gbps to 10Gbps

SpaceX is aiming to one day deliver 10Gbps internet speeds over its satellite internet system, Starlink—a ten-fold increase over the company’s previous 1Gbps goal.

Last week, SpaceX gave an update to the FCC on the current status of Starlink, which is already supplying broadband to residents in rural areas in the US, Canada, and the UK. The company’s presentation points out the system can currently deliver 100Mbps download speeds to users. But the long-term goal is to upgrade speeds to 10Gbps.

If the company can pull it off, Starlink would be faster than many ground-based gigabit broadband networks, and thus create some serious competition in the ISP market.

When SpaceX plans on reaching the new speed goal was left unsaid. But it’ll hinge on building out its Starlink satellite network. Currently, the system numbers at only 955 satellites, but the long-term goal is to launch thousands more to enable global coverage and faster internet speeds.

According to SpaceX’s presentation to the FCC, the company is working to launch 120 satellites each month. Upcoming software updates also promise to accelerate Starlink’s throughput.

The presentation goes on to ask for FCC approval to lower Starlink satellites to an operating altitude of 540 to 570 kilometers above the planet. According to SpaceX, the lower altitude will make the satellites safer to operate by improving the “debris profile.” However, the company says competitors such as Amazon have been objecting to the change over claims Starlink will interfere with their own satellite broadband systems.

“Since being granted its own ‘license,’ Amazon has engaged in continuous campaign to undermine authorizations from competitors,” SpaceX says. Company CEO Elon Musk also contends Amazon’s own system is “several years away” from launching.

If you’d like to try out Starlink, you can go to the company’s website to register for the public beta. However, the invites remain limited to users in select regions in the northern US. Starlink also costs $99 a month plus a $499 one-time fee for the equipment. The company plans to widen the beta to the southern US early this year.

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