According to an FCC filing (PDF) submitted as per the requirements that come with the $885 million subsidy SpaceX received as part of Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, the company’s Starlink has 10,000 users on its network. It has 1,000 satellites in orbit at present. Starlink is capable of launching 60 satellites at a time, with launches slotted every two weeks. It has a target to launch 4,400 low-earth orbit satellites.
Elon Musk’s company says it has met and exceeded the target of 100 megabits down and 20 megabits up in trials. It has demoed the performance of 95% of network round-trip latency measurements at or below 31 milliseconds. For voice, the filing explains, the company plans to use a white-label managed service provider and support SIP.
While it is not broadband (by which I mean fixed-line broadband), it still is better than the marginal broadband access we currently have in America. The U.S. phone companies have gorged on rural subsidies for a long time. I hope Starlink, like Tesla, can disrupt the incumbents. It won’t surprise me even a tiny bit if, in the long run, the Starlink network evolves into Tesla’s very own broadband backbone, connecting all Tesla vehicles.
Additional Reading: Some broadband realists believe that there are many limitations to Starlink and its capabilities. I recommend this piece by Alan Mauldin from two years ago. Tim Farrar, too, has reservations and is also highly skeptical of the RBOC plans.