American SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service is now partially available to Belgium. This can be read in an email Starlink sent to customers, tech website Tweakers reports. At the moment, there is no coverage across Belgium yet. The service will be expanded in the near future.
Stefan Vegelin, ADN
Tweakers, Datanews, Belga
The service is still in its infancy. Users can expect internet speeds between 50 and 150 Mbps, the email says. SpaceX also warns about changing speeds and short periods without an internet connection. The space company will build more ground stations in the near future, update network software and launch more satellites to increase connectivity and data speed.
Tesla President and SpaceX founder Elon Musk wants to provide all over the world with high-speed broadband internet from space using the Starlink satellite network. The Internet is currently dependent on underground cables, but their installation is expensive and not always possible. Musk hopes to provide an answer to this on his satellite network. After a new launch, the ambitious project can sometimes be seen in the sky, as a spectacular light path or also as a “satellite train”.
SpaceX began offering Starlink as a beta service in October 2020. In recent months, it has also been introduced commercially in some European countries. And now also in Belgium. Customers and interested parties can check the Starlink website to see if there is coverage in their area. If not already, they can make a deposit to get priority in the service in the future. For example, for Brussels and Charleroi, Starlink stated on the website that there will be coverage in the middle or end of 2021. For Ghent city center, there is already coverage.
Last week, Dutch customers received the same email. Dutch users from Den Bosch and The Hague report that they can actually receive the service. They reach speeds of up to 160 Mbps. There is also coverage already in the capital, Amsterdam, but not yet in West Brabant and Friesland.
Starlink internet service costs € 99 per month, excluding VAT. Additionally, buyers must purchase a kit for € 499. Customers receive a Station user phased arrayAntenna, tripod, and WiFi router. In addition, there are also delivery costs of approximately 60 euros.
According to Datanews, Starlink is not yet a formidable competitor to the Belgian operators. “ 114.02 € per month (or 99 € without VAT) for a subscription, certainly for the current speed, much more expensive than Internet only Subscription with local operators, “it seems. In addition, 499 euros for devices and 59 euros for shipping and handling have been added.”
“Satellite technology like Starlink can be useful in remote areas where today you cannot reach 50 or 100 Mbps over a fixed or 4G connection,” continues Datanews. “One of the disadvantages is that your subscription is geographically locked. A Starlink subscription in Belgium cannot be taken with you to your vacation home in Spain next summer.”
The first Dutch users of Starlink satellite internet received their device packages this week, showing them on Reddit and in Tweakers. Users reported a relatively stable internet experience with varying speeds.
For example, a “VDB Computers” user in Avenhorn, North Holland, had a download speed of between 60 and 123.6 Mbps and an upload speed of about 25 Mbps. It describes the placement of a group of devices as easy and easy installation. However, the dish needs a free 360 ”display”. The ‘Power Neet’ user in Westland reached 160 Mbps in one instant and the next at barely 5.9 Mbps.
User “donotwant” achieved speeds of 80 to 100 Mbps and 20 to 40 Mbps in “Farming Village” near Hilversum, which is believed to be much faster than an 8 Mbps DSL connection. User “Stephanoid” reported a download speed of 238MB / s. The Dutchman also reports that energy consumption is plaguing him. He estimates that will soon reach 50 cents to 1 euro per day, although he still has to measure this over a longer period.
Last week, on the night from Saturday to Sunday, SpaceX successfully launched a new package of Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Falcon-9 launch vehicle took off at 00.56 Belgian time. Eight minutes later, the first stage returning aboard the ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ drone landed in the Atlantic Ocean.
After just over 90 minutes of take-off, 52 Starlink satellites of the global broadband network were launched at an altitude of about 575 km, each weighing 260 kg. Before that, a total of 1,677 satellites had been launched. By 2024, there should be approximately 12,000 satellites in space. SpaceX wants to eventually raise that number to 42,000.
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