SPACEX announced Tuesday that it is expanding its WFi coverage in the UK to include Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England.
The £89 a month service beams the internet to customers’ homes from space using a “mega constellation” of hundreds of satellites.
Artist impression of a Starlink satellite dishCredit: spacex
Dubbed Starlink, SpaceX launched the scheme in southern England earlier this year following a successful rollout in the US in 2020.
“Starlink is now available in parts of Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England, in addition to existing service areas in southern England,” SpaceX said in a press release .
“During beta, users can expect to see data speeds vary from 50Mb/s to 150Mb/s over the next several months as we enhance the Starlink system.”
The California rocket maker said that the service would improve “dramatically” as it fires more satellites into space.
The dish connects to a huge constellation of hundreds of satellitesCredit: SpaceX
There are currently more than 1,400 Starlink satellites in orbit around Earth. SpaceX hopes to eventually have 12,000 in operation.
Also on Tuesday, SpaceX announced that it was launching Starlink in Germany and New Zealand this week.
SpaceX warned that Starlink is still in beta, and as such early customers may experience “brief periods of no connectivity at all.”
You can check availability for your location on starlink.com by entering your service address.
Starlink starter boxes contain a special router and a satellite dish that users must affix to their homesCredit: Reddit/Bybby4j
If Starlink is not yet available in your area, you can place a deposit to hold your space in line for future service.
The first Starlink satellite entered orbit in 2018 and SpaceX sends hundreds of the dishwasher sized gizmos up every year.
The network is eventually set to reach 12,000, rising to as many as 42,000 in future, according to SpaceX.
It follows reports in late December that the firm had begun sending out Starlink invites to UK fans on its mailing list.
SpaceX launches Starlink satellites in batches of 60Credit: Getty Images – Getty
The service costs £89 a month on top of a £439 fee for the router and dish.
Once set up, the dish connects to SpaceX’s satellite constellation, promising download speeds of up to 210 megabits per second (Mbps).
That’s more than six times the average download speed in the UK, or faster than 95 per cent of US connections.
As well as high-speed connectivity, the service offers an easy way to beam internet into trucks, boats and aircraft.
SpaceX, which is run by billionaire Tesla CEO Elon Musk, launches Starlink satellites in batches of 60 atop its Falcon 9 rockets.
SpaceX is owned and operated by billionaire Tesla CEO Elon MuskCredit: Getty – Pool
Astronomers and amateur stargazers have repeatedly blasted the firm for obscuring the night sky and ruining observations with the orbiting tech.
SpaceX argues its satellites are only bright shortly after launch. Over several weeks, they move further from Earth, apparently dampening their disruptive glow.
The primary goal of Starlink is to create a network that will help provide WiFi to people in remote areas who are not yet connected.
SpaceX says the satellites will also provide reliable and affordable internet across the planet.
What is Starlink?
Here’s what you need to know…
- Starlink is a satellite project led by billionaire SpaceX CEO Elon Musk
- Musk intends to put 12,000 satellites into Earth’s orbit, possibly rising to 42,000 in future
- The ‘mega-constellation’ will eventually be able to beam internet coverage to anywhere on the planet
- SpaceX also intends to sell satellites for military, scientific and exploratory purposes
- The firm sends its satellites up in batches of 60 at a time and has so far deployed more than 800 into orbit.
- The satellites are launched atop unmanned Falcon 9 rockets, which are also built by SpaceX
- How the space tech affects the night sky is a major concern as they appear very brightly
- Astronomers and amateur stargazers have repeatedly blasted the firm for ruining their observations
- SpaceX argues that its satellites are only bright shortly after launch because they sit in a low orbit
- Over several weeks, the satellites move further from Earth, apparently dampening their effect on space observations
In the UK, Starlink is competing with OneWeb, a failed US satellite company that Downing Street pumped £400million into last year.
The move means Britain is part of a consortium with India’s Bharti Global which won a bidding war for the firm.
OneWeb has 74 satellites in orbit and eventually plans to beam WiFi from space using a constellation numbering in the thousands.
Ministers hope the investment will compensate for the loss of access to the EU’s Galileo space WiFi programme in the wake of Brexit.
In other news, SpaceX recently launched a spy satellite into orbit.
ESA researchers think they’ve spotted an angel on Mars.
And a satellite that can look inside buildings at any time of day has been launched.
What do you think of Starlink? Let us know in the comments!
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