SpaceX began accepting initial requests for Starlink’s satellite internet service earlier this week, as the company expanded its pilot program to a limited number of users per coverage area.
Members of the public can now enter their home address and offer $ 99 for the antenna router package, he says Site Starlink: It ships on a first-come-first-served basis, location dependent.
As the site says, deposits of $ 99 are fully refundable, and may take 6 months or longer to be fulfilled.
Some sites across the website display a notice stating that coverage will not be available until mid or late 2021, while some say 2022.
The complete Starlink kit costs $ 499 and includes a mountable antenna, wireless router and power supply.
The expansion comes as SpaceX reported a user base of about 10,000 users from the invite-only trial period, which began last year, along with a mix of ongoing experimental partnerships with local governments across the United States.
SpaceX also has regulatory approval to operate in Canada and the United Kingdom, with plans to expand globally.
The company has launched more than 1,000 satellites in low Earth orbit and is racing to make Starlink a profitable, consumer-focused commercial line, whose revenues help fund the Mars Rocket Vehicle.
The Starlink deposit idea follows a model familiar to Tesla, in which the electric car company has invited potential customers to order cars that are not yet fully available, and has raised cash from modest, refundable down payments to help support the company’s balance sheet.
Information on the Starlink website indicates that placing a deposit does not guarantee the availability of the Starlink group and services. Rather, it places potential customers in a priority location whenever the service becomes available in their area.
As the initial application update started, Musk tweeted: “After we can reasonably forecast cash flow, Starlink will go through the IPO.”
“SpaceX needs to bridge the deep chasm of negative cash flow over the next year or so to make Starlink financially viable,” Musk said.
Musk was not shy to admit that the business of the project faces serious challenges in the future, and said: Starlink is a very difficult technical and economic endeavor, however, if we do not fail, the cost to end users improves every year.
SpaceX needs to pass through a deep chasm of negative cash flow over the next year or so to make Starlink financially viable. Every new satellite constellation in history has gone bankrupt. We hope to be the first that does not.
– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 9, 2021