Elon Musk’s SpaceX is on track to deliver global internet via its satellite network by September, the company said Tuesday, though with such an enormous undertaking it faces significant regulatory hurdles.
Starlink president Gwynne Shotwel shared the optimistic news on Tuesday, according to a story reported by Reuters.
“We’ve successfully deployed 1,800 or so satellites and once all those satellites reach their operational orbit, we will have continuous global coverage, so that should be like September timeframe,” she told a Macquarie Group technology conference via webcast.
“But then we have regulatory work to go into every country and get approved to provide telecoms services.”
Starlink, which has said it plans to deploy 12,000 satellites in total at a cost of roughly $10 billion, currently offers beta services in 11 countries, Shotwel said.
Among other highlights from Shotwel’s comments:
- SpaceX plans to launch approximately 42,000 Starlink satellites into low-Earth orbit by mid-2027.
- SpaceX’s regulatory approval will be required before being allowed to operate in a given country.
- Starlink operates its beta in 11 countries, including parts of Europe and in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand.
- Global coverage of the service may open up more high-speed internet opportunities for rural and underserved communities.
Musk said in May that more than 500,000 people had placed an order for Starlink or put down a $99 deposit.
Monthly subscriptions are $99 and another $499 for the kit (a tripod, WiFi router, and a terminal to connect to the satellites).
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission already approved SpaceX’s plan to lower-orbit satellites that bring broadband internet services to those without current access.
Starlink is competing within the small-satellite market with companies including Amazon’s Kuiper, Britain’s OneWeb, Planet and Raytheon Technologies Corp’s Blue Canyon Technologies.