The SpaceX subsidiary has decided to integrate a limit of 1 TB of data downloaded each month for its North American users starting in December. In parallel, SpaceX added Swarm to its Starlink website for IoT data.
[Mis à jour le lundi 7 novembre à 10h52Ss] Unlimited data usage is no longer the rule at Starlink. The conditions of use of the satellite internet service have been updated in order to limit, as of December, the amount of usable data per subscriber during peak hours (from 7 am to 11 pm). Users will no longer be able to exceed 1TB of data uploaded each month. To exceed this limit, users will have to pay $0.25 per GB of data or $250 for an additional 1 TB. This new rule takes effect in the United States and Canada, no similar announcement has been made yet for French subscribers. At the same time, Starlink is opening up to the IoT. SpaceX has added Swarm to its Starlink website, officially launching a service for Internet of Things connectivity, for $5 a month. SpaceX acquired Swarm and its constellation of 120 miniature satellites in August 2021.
What is Starlink?
Starlink is the space internet project of billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk. Run by its commercial aerospace company SpaceX, Starlink aims to provide high-speed internet connectivity around the world via a constellation of 42,000 satellites in low orbit by 2027. Launches are taking place gradually. In February 2018, two prototype satellites were launched and since then the satellites have orbited in batches of sixty. More than 3,000 satellites are deployed 550 kilometers above Earth. With this project announced in 2015, Elon Musk intends to scour the sky to offer fast Internet access (up to 1Gb/s) with low latency (less than 20m/s), in particular for digital deserts. In offering satellite Internet, Starlink will face competition from Kuiper, Jeff Bezos’s next project, and its 3,200 satellites. The founder of Amazon is not the only competitor: the English project OneWeb has already been launched and Facebook has also announced its ambition in this area.
How to get Starlink in France?
In France, Starlink has been green-lit again since June 2, 2022. Arcep was able to grant Starlink two frequency bands to connect its satellites and its French end users. Arcep has launched a public consultation in order to be able to grant this green light and provide a solution to the approximately 6,500 French subscribers, who have joined the offer, available since May 2021.
To access it, interested parties must register for the service on the Starlink website, indicate their address (which cannot be changed) and request a small satellite dish with a tripod to be installed in their residence in an open area.
Reception quality depends on relay stations. So far, only one installation has been authorized in France at Villenave d’Ornon in the Gironde. In France, three sites were originally intended to house satellite broadband Internet access service stations. Elon Musk’s project foresaw the installation of nine antennas at Saint-Senier-de-Beuvron (Manche) as well as at Gravelines (North) to provide their spatial connectivity. Arcep confirmed his abandonment.
What is the price of Starlink?
To connect to the Starlink network, the user must purchase the installation kit. The latter contains the modem, the router and the satellite dish and sells for 634 euros. The subscription price, originally 99 euros per month, was reduced on August 3, 2022 to 50 euros per month with free shipping. You can now try Starlink for 30 days and return your Starlink kit for a full hardware refund if you are not satisfied.
What speeds with Starlink?
SpaceX promises a speed between 50 and 150 megabits per second, well beyond the 30 Mbits/s limit required to switch to the very high speed category in France.
In France, Les Numériques media carried out “19 tests over three days at different times of day that resulted in a speed of approximately 184 Mb/s downlink speed”.
How many satellites does Starlink have?
There are over 2,000 Starlink satellites deployed 550 kilometers in orbit above Earth. SpaceX said on January 6, 2022 that its Starlink satellite internet service has more than 700,000 customers in 36 countries worldwide. Elon Musk’s company said Starlink user growth has slowed because silicon shortages have delayed production and affected orders.
Each Starlink satellite weighs just 260 kilograms. Its flat shape allows you to place 60 of them inside one of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets to put them into orbit. Each satellite includes a solar panel for its power, four antennas for Internet transmissions, lasers that connect them to four other orbiting satellites, and ion thrusters that use krypton gas to keep them in orbit.
To connect to the terrestrial network, the Starlink network needs terrestrial relay stations. Equipped with electric domes and large antennas, they will rely in France on frequency bands of 10.95-12.70 GHz to transmit a signal from space to Earth and 14-14.5 GHz to make the reverse path from the user terminals. .
Users must have a kit that includes a dish, a tripod to fix it, and a router for data processing and connection sharing. This Starlink kit is sold at a price of 499 euros.
Elon Musk wants to demonstrate the interest of the space Internet in the maritime sector. The offering, called Starlink Maritime, offers access for $5,000 a month to Internet from the sea with speeds of up to 350 Mbit/s. “From merchant ships to oil rigs and high-end yachts, Starlink Maritime lets you connect from the world’s most remote waters, just as you would at the office or at home,” the company says on its website. To benefit from the offer, in addition to the subscription, it will be necessary to pay another 10,000 dollars for the purchase of two antennas that receive the signal.
When to see Starlink?
Watch amateur astronomers, satellites are visible to the naked eye in the sky at certain times. The Find Starlink website allows you to consult the satellite visibility moments according to their position. During launches, it is also possible to see a succession of small points of light forming a long white trail.