A Starlink user terminal that connects consumers to the company's satellite Internet service.
According to SpaceX, Starlink, the emerging satellite Internet service, has already seen "exceptional demand" from potential customers. "Nearly 700,000 people" in the US say they are interested in the company's upcoming service.
Due to the higher-than-expected interest, SpaceX submitted an application to the Federal Communications Commission on Friday demanding that the number of authorized user terminals increase from 1 million to 5 million. User terminals are the devices that consumers would use to connect to the company's satellite Internet.
The request comes about a month and a half after SpaceX updates its Starlink website so potential customers can "get updates on Starlink news and availability of services in your area". To register your interest in the Starlink service, all you need to do is provide an email address and mailing address, with no fees for receiving updates.
Starlink is the company's ambitious plan to build a network of approximately 12,000 small satellites to broadcast the high-speed Internet anywhere in the world. To date, SpaceX has launched more than 500 Starlink satellites. Not only does SpaceX have to put the satellites into orbit, it also has to build a huge system of ground stations and affordable user terminals to connect consumers directly to their network.
SpaceX deploys its 60 Starlink Internet satellites in orbit.
SpaceX is starting a private beta test of the Starlink service this summer, which is to follow "followed by public beta tests". Elon Musk's company informed the FCC that Starlink will offer commercial services in the northern United States and southern Canada "before the end of this year", and then rapidly expand to almost global coverage of the populous world in 2021. "Musk has Starlink's internet speed has been touted as a competition to existing ground-based services and announced in March that the network would" have a latency of less than 20 milliseconds so someone can play a responsive video game at a competitive level ".
The satellite network is an ambitious undertaking. As SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said earlier, "it will cost the company about $ 10 billion or more" to build the Starlink network. The company has continually raised funds from private investors in recent years and most recently valued SpaceX at $ 44 billion.
However, if Starlink is successful, SpaceX has told investors that the satellite internet business is targeting a total addressable market of $ 1 trillion. Morgan Stanley recently said that if Starlink is more successful than expected, SpaceX's valuation in the most optimistic bull case scenario could reach up to $ 175 billion.
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