8/13/20 at 11:57 AM by Bernie Arnason
A Reddit forum for SpaceX’s Starlink has revealed the first speeds for the new satellite broadband service. SpaceX has already launched hundreds of low earth orbit (LEO) satellites that will power this next generation satellite broadband service.
Coverage is currently limited to the Northern region of the U.S. and the southern region of Canada. The Reddit forum featured Starlink speeds appear to be from beta users in the state of Washington.
SpaceX has big plans for Starlink. It eventually plans to put thousands of LEO satellites in orbit, presumably offering nationwide coverage for broadband. LEO-based satellite broadband provides better broadband performance than traditional satellite broadband, which uses satellites at much higher geostationary orbit.
SpaceX is hoping the USF program will help fund its growth plans. The company aims to participate in the upcoming RDOF auction. SpaceX isn’t alone in the LEO satellite broadband space race. Amazon and others are joining them.
It’s very early in this new satellite broadband era. As impressive as some might think the early Starlink speeds are (or not impressive, depending on your perspective), there are many questions about the viability of LEO-based satellite broadband over the long term. There is no shortage of skeptics.