Starlink passes the 250,000 subscriber mark worldwide

Starlink passes the 250,000 subscriber mark worldwide

Technology

SpaceX’s Starlink service now has a quarter of a million subscribers worldwide, as the company seeks to enter new markets like aviation. Starlink also broke the 100 Mbps data transfer speed average in fifteen of its major markets, including France.

Presented in 2015, SpaceX’s Starlink project continues to take shape. The company has multiplied satellite launches in recent months and already has more than 2,200 active in low Earth orbit. Eventually, Elon Musk plans a constellation of 12,000 satellites, before considering an extension to 42,000. The objective will be to offer very high-speed global Internet access. Eventually, SpaceX would also like to rely on its Starlink service to fund its future efforts on Mars.

The Starlink service is currently available in about twenty countries. In June 2021, during the Mobile World Congress (MWC) conference, Elon Musk expected around 500,000 users by the end of 2022. We are not there yet, but there is progress.

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A quarter of a million subscribers

The announcement was made on Tuesday by Jonathan Hofeller, Starlink’s vice president of commercial sales at SpaceX. The company, which had about 70,000 users about a year ago, now has more than 250,000 subscribers, a sample that includes many companies.

SpaceX, which manufactures nearly eight satellites a day at its factory in Redmond (Washington), is also preparing to expand its market to that of aviation. “In-plane connectivity is something we think is ready for an overhaul,” Hofeller said. “Expectations have changed faster than technology has changed.” With this in mind, SpaceX has developed a dedicated antenna which is currently being tested. Also according to Hofeller, the company is also working to have it certified on “various aircraft“.

Asked how many subscribers the company needs to make Starlink profitable, he declined to give a figure. However, he said the system’s cost-effectiveness would improve with a second generation of satellites, under development.

On the performance side, Elon Musk promised us download speeds between 50 and 250 Mbps and latency between 20 and 40 ms. According to recent speedtests offered by Ookla in the fourth quarter of 2021, these promises are generally kept in around fifteen countries, including France where the service was launched commercially in May 2021. According to the study, Starlink would indeed have averages a download speed of 121.21 Mbps, although the latency is still a bit high (51 ms).