starlink launches new roaming program

The SpaceX-owned internet service Starlink is reportedly rolling out a new type of subscription that will provide global coverage in exchange for a higher monthly payment of $200 a month.

Starlink user Nathan Owens shared an e-mail on Twitter that he received from the company to try out the firm’s brand-new Global Roaming program. According to the communication, users can expect a high-speed, low-latency service with brief intermittent poor-service incidents.

The price of the hardware needed to get access to the program will be the same as the residential package, which currently stands at $599. In addition, users can ask for a refund within the first 30 days if they feel the service did not perform as expected.

Starlink will only process payments in US dollars for now and users will have to take care of all related customs procedures to bring the hardware with them wherever they go.

The company’s services are reportedly available in more than 50 countries at the moment including some nations within South America, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and a large portion of Europe.

Also read: Factors To Consider When Selecting An ISP For Your Business

In May 2022, Starlink said that its hardware was ready to be shipped “immediately” in the countries where the firm has already obtained regulatory approvals to operate as an internet service provider (ISP).

Some of the users who received the invites to the Global Roaming service reside outside of the coverage area of Starlink. By deeming it a “roaming” service, Starlink may be looking for a way to bypass local regulations in multiple countries that have not yet given the company the nod.

Roaming services are understood as wireless connectivity that extends beyond the coverage area originally offered by a user’s ISP. Most telecommunications companies establish partnerships with ISPs located overseas to allow their users to stay connected despite being outside that area.

In the case of Starlink, the company expects to provide coverage in most corners of the world by relying on a large network of satellites. The firm reportedly plans to launch over 40,000 of these devices at some point to create a “mega constellation”.

Thus far, Starlink has reportedly launched over 4,000 satellites according to data compiled by astronomer Jonathan McDowell as of 2022.

In September last year, Elon Musk – the founder of SpaceX – said that Starlink had manufactured over 1 million terminals. These terminals have to be bought by subscribers to enjoy the service anywhere they are. They resemble a satellite cable dish.

Residential users currently have to pay $110 per month to enjoy Starlink’s service. The speed offered by Starlink varies depending on the location of the user and the intensity of the signal that the antenna gets. The $110 plan offers a speed of 50 megabits per second (Mbps).

The service is also available for business customers, offering speeds of up to 350 Mbps in exchange for monthly payments of over $250 while RVs and maritime vessels can also rely on Starlink to connect to the internet regardless of where they are traveling to.

Astronomers have voiced their concerns about Starlink’s program to populate space with thousands of satellites as the light that these devices emit can significantly complicate their space studies.

According to several professionals in the field, both amateurs and experts who study the skies by relying on ground-based astronomy are experiencing disruptions due to the elevated brightness of Starlink’s satellites caused by the sun’s reflection on their surface.

As the company’s fleet of satellites grows, astronomers fear that they will become regular intruder to the observations made by scientists. In response to these concerns, Starlink has been making modifications to its satellites including the addition of visors to reduce light reflectivity and changes in the colors they use for painting.

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