Starlink service, SpaceX’s beta Internet program, is inching towards reality as the company called on to registered users’ specific address information who have signed up for the beta testing program this week. Public beta testing is expected to begin in Fall 2020. Availability is eyed in the United States and areas within southern Canada, including rural areas in Washington state according to a Starlink FAQ posted on Reddit.
'U.F.O. on a stick'
Each beta tester will receive a hardware set free of charge for which they can install it themselves. This mainly features a satellite dish previously dubbed by Tesla CEO and SpaceX founder Elon Musk as a ‘UFO on a stick’ that is capable of receiving signals from space. Besides that, it needs to be paired with a router for the domestic use of Wi-Fi.
Photos of the terminals, as what Musk prefers to call them instead of satellite dishes, made rounds online the past few days on the Internet for which he decided to share a piece of his mind noting that it’ll be too early to assume what the final product version would look like. He even showcased the ease of use of the terminal and how it contains built-in motors which help the device orient itself for an optimal view, therefore, eliminating the need for professional installation service.
Beta tester’s duties
Starlink requires its beta testers to keep incognito the details of their participation, which includes network speed and quality. They’re also asked to spend at least 30 minutes up to an hour per day to “testing the Starlink Services and providing feedback on a periodic basis,” with feedback delivered via “surveys, phone calls, emails, and other means.”
In instances of illicit activities, while undergoing the pilot testing program such as downloading and storing pirated materials and other illegal activities, Starlight reserves the right to prematurely end or suspend the beta user’s participation in the program.
One can also terminate their participation at their own will.
Upon the end of the program, beta testers are expected to send back all the hardware paraphernalia (at Starlink’s shipping cost) sent to them by the company. Debit or credit card details will be required and a ‘nominal fee’ will be charged. Details about this are yet to be finalized but the company reiterates that the service and loaned hardware itself is free of charge during the pilot testing period.