Starlink, the Elon Musk-backed venture which aims to provide low-latency broadband Internet to remote areas across the globe using a constellation of satellites in low-Earth orbit, is now offering a “premium” service to its customers. An update on Starlink’s website announced that the service will offer “more than double the antenna capability” of its regular service. The billionaire tech entrepreneur tweeted the update about the “high-performance antenna”. The premium service will deliver faster Internet speeds with a bigger antenna and higher throughput for high demand users, including businesses.
With the premium service, Starlink users can expect download speeds of 150–500Mbps and latency of 20-30ms. Latency is the amount of time within which a data signal travels from point A to point B and then returns to point A. It is measured in milliseconds (ms). Higher latency means a delay in data transmission. The lower it is the better. A latency ranging from 20ms to 40ms range is generally considered optimal.
On its website, Starlink said that the premium service is designed for improved performance even in extreme weather conditions. If there’s an issue, users will get access to 24×7 support on priority, as per the company. However, Starlink services are not yet available in all areas. So, potential customers should first check with the company.
SpaceX, which operates Starlink, recently launched 49 satellites aboard a Falcon 9 rocket to take the total number of satellites in the constellation to over 2,000. More Starlink launches are expected in the coming weeks. US authorities have allowed SpaceX to launch up to 12,000 mini-satellites as part of the constellation.
The project is particularly focussed on remote areas lacking terrestrial Internet infrastructure. But there are concerns that the increasing number of small satellites will crowd the low-Earth orbit and potentially lead to hazards.
Starlink, meanwhile, is asking interested users to reserve slots to book the Premium service now via its website; the deliveries will start in the second quarter of 2022.