It’s a pretty steep price for “better than nothing.”
Elon Musk’s SpaceX is reportedly charging $99 a month for a test version of its Starlink satellite internet service that it expects to be somewhat spotty.
In addition, customers who sign up for the “Better Than Nothing Beta” test will also have to shell out $499 for the equipment needed to hook up their homes to the network of space satellites that will connect them to the web, according to reports.
They can expect data speeds ranging from 50 to 150 megabits per second “as we enhance the Starlink system,” SpaceX told prospective customers in an email reviewed by CNBC and Reuters — but even that isn’t guaranteed.
“There will also be brief periods of no connectivity at all,” SpaceX admitted in the email, according to Reuters.
“As you can tell from the title, we are trying to lower your initial expectations,” the message reportedly said.
Starlink’s reported speeds are far slower than those offered by traditional internet service providers such as Verizon FiOs and Spectrum, which charge $59.99 and $44.99, respectively, for up to 400 megabits per second in New York City.
However, Starlink could prove faster and cheaper than rival satellite provider Viasat, which charges a starting rate of $100 per month for up to 30 megabits per second, according to its website.
SpaceX said in August that “nearly 700,000 individuals” expressed interest in the Starlink service. The privately held company — best known for its rocket launches — expects to offer the test service in the US and Canada this year before “rapidly expanding to near-global coverage of the populated world by 2021,” according to the description for Starlink’s new iPhone app.
Starlink aims to provide high-speed connections to people in rural areas with limited options for internet access. The service reportedly got positive reviews from an official with Washington state’s first-responder military team, which has used Starlink to provide internet to people in areas ravaged by wildfires.
Investors are also excited about the service — demand for SpaceX’s privately held shares recently jumped 25 percent thanks to enthusiasm about Starlink, as The Post reported last month.
SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Wednesday.
With Post wires