Starlink Better Than Nothing Beta program

Got this in the email today:

This is your official invitation to participate in Starlink’s Better Than Nothing Beta program! This invitation expires on Dec. 25, 2020.

Expect data speeds to vary from 50Mb/s to 150Mb/s and latency from 20ms to 40ms over the next several months. There will also be brief periods of no connectivity at all.

As we launch more satellites, install more ground stations and improve our networking software, data speed, latency and uptime will improve dramatically. For latency, we expect to achieve 16ms to 19ms by summer 2021.

The Starlink phased-array user terminal, which is more advanced than what’s in fighter jets, plus mounting tripod and wifi router, costs $499 and the monthly subscription costs $99.

If this sounds good to you, [ order now ]

Love the name of the beta. We’re very fortunate where we live to already get 1.5 Gbps so not in the market for this. I do very like the idea of it very much though, as lots of place to live in the middle of nowhere, and this thing giving fast internet everywhere appeals to me.

Retire to that cabin in the woods, and by the time they roll out properly it’ll be up to 500 Mb/s with just 16 ms latency, which is doable.


As soon as it is available here in Texas, I plan on jumping on this. My 25Mbps connection, while 5 times faster than it used to be, is still pretty slow. I’m paying over $100 a month for that, so Starlink will be a no brainer for me.


That’s very expensive for what you’re getting and with no guarantee of service, but maybe the perfect option for remote locations indeed.

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Amazon and Bezos is doing a ‘mini-me’ (this goes well with Paul’s avatar!) on all this with ‘Project Kuiper’.

They’ll putting in $10 billion, but they’ll need a ride as Blue Origin seems to be going pretty slowly. I wonder where they are in terms of reaching orbit?

Competition is looking good, and nice to see Verizon/Comcast being literally overtaken.

It is called the ‘Better Than Nothing’ beta program after all :slight_smile:

Once the mini-sats get their planned laser sat-to-sat upgrade (!) then the speeds should start to jump up quite a bit.


So much space debris though. I heard Terry Virts talking about this the other day. It’s going to get really bad when all this space junk starts colliding with other space junk and exponentially creating a cloud of space junk that nobody can travel through.

I hope it’ll be ok, and it was something considered by the FTC before they approved this stuff. Space is very big and they are quite small and very low orbits that are quite draggy.

They deorbit ok and burn up to dust, and they’ve tested that already with deliberate deburns. If Starlink disappeared today by about 3 years all the existing sats would fall and be gone to nothing. They actually have to boost them to keep them up, as they are in such a low orbit (hence the latency being better than old marine satellite systems etc).

The mesh eventually would have a max of about 42,000 satellites, and it sounds a lot, but picture 42,000 shoe boxes spread out over the entire surface of the Earth (or 7,800 boxes across the width of the continental US) and then think of the gaps between them.

I’m not saying there is no issue, just that the numbers and scales aren’t intuitive, and the benefits might be worth it.


I could see this being hugely popular with RV and sailboat people if it is feasible to have a dish that relocates.

They probably embedded an antenna in the roof of your Tesla if they were thinking ahead… :rofl:

Space is big. I only frequent the thin band that is navigable with our air breathing machines…and even that seems enormously big…even with the density we fill it with. Like you said…I’m sure there are issues, but hopefully they are being considered (short period decaying orbits seem to be the solution)…

I don’t know…but I think that Hughes.NET type service is very expensive…or at least extremely limited in the amount of data you get. So I would be this will be competitive with that.

Qualifier - I know nothing about anything. So consider that. LOL…

A car roof would actually be a good fit. The Amazon Ka-band is good for 400 Mpbs and is very flat and about 12’ wide.

We just need antenna hats, and we’re about 14% way onto Cyberpunk anyway - the answer is always fashion! :star2: :wink:

In the more remote places in Northern Canada I think there’s a plan to plonk down a Starlink box and then put it with a 5G transmitter all as a small unit, so that way the town gets decent phone internet for everyone without any infrastructure needed.


Shhhh…it’s in the vaccine. The nanoparticles distribute through your blood…creating an Arecibo-like, whole human receiving antenna. It is how the programming will be sent.


They deorbit themselves if they’re still functioning. Malfunctioned satellites become space debris. Terry Virts had to divert the ISS around space junk all the time.

Just a small paint chip can travel at 18,000 MPH (about seven times faster than a bullet), and it leaves little divots in the ISS all the time. Terry said he could hear them while in bed.

If they’re going to send them up there anyway, I’d definitely use the service if I were in a remote area.

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I always thought the best answer to ‘Bill Gates is putting nanomachines in me!’ is to just point at Internet Explorer and say ‘You mean the guy that did that?’ :slight_smile:

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These are relatively low altitude, well below the international spacestation. If they don’t do active station-keeping (which I can imagine they can do for decades with those ion drives) they will fall out of the sky within a decade, I’m sure.

A decade of space debris is not very pleasant but not an insurmountable problem either, in my opinion.

Sounds great but the low altitude junk just adds another layer to the 18 million pounds of junk we already have in orbit. Lets stop talking about junk now and talk about the benefits of Starlink. :slight_smile:

A layer of junk that will decay in a few years, but agreed that we should return to the discussion to the functionality of Starlink.

We’re not constrained by time here. Junk comes down, more junk goes up. :slight_smile:

@Troll, I’m thinking this is not going to work for us denizens of the high latitudes. As it stands now, my TV sat dish looks like it is pointing about 5º to 10º down for a geostationary satellite out there at 37,000 km orbit. (I do metric now.)


Edit: @Hangar200
Starlink satellites are not geostationary so that will likely not be a problem.

I don’t think they have plans for above 50°, unfortunately…
Edit. Getting into polar orbits is harder than equatorial, and the people density in the polar regions probably won’t be sufficient for them to establish coverage.

Maybe that will improve your Viggening…? :ajs37: