Elon Musk has predicted that SpaceX’s satellite internet department, Starlink will have up to 500,000 active users within 12 months. He made this projection in a virtual speech at the Mobile World Congress event on Tuesday. “We are on our way to having a few hundred thousand users, possibly over 500,000 users within 12 months.” Elon Musk said.
Elon Musk’s Starlink: The SpaceX Internet Project
Starlink is a satellite network that delivers “high-speed, low latency broadband internet”. It began operations in 2018. And now, it boasts of some 70,000 users across 12 countries.
Moreover, Starlink will “continue expansion to near-global coverage of the populated world in 2021,” according to Starlink’s website. Currently, subscribers have to pay $99 per month to maintain access.
“We have two significant partnerships with major countries. And we are in discussions with a number of other [countries] to provide Starlink access”, Elon Musk said. The SpaceX CEO also noted that his company plans on deploying more sophisticated Starlink satellites come next year.
SpaceX’s Starlink Vs Amazon’s Project Kuiper
For a while now, Elon Musk and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos have been racing to make the internet more accessible across the globe. In 2005, Bezos introduced “Project Kuiper”, an initiative to launch 3,236 high-speed internet satellites into space. While the project is still ongoing, it has yet to chalk up any major successes. Starlink, on the other hand, has already begun delivering on its promise.
According to Statista, the number of internet users worldwide will rise to 5.3 billion by 2023. In 2019 alone, an estimated 300 million new users went online. Therefore, SpaceX is striving to establish itself as a trusted service provider. This will help the company tap into the vast potential of the growing internet service market.
Overall, Elon Musk’s latest prediction may sound too ambitious. But it’s safe to say SpaceX’s Starlink is not far from being a premier satellite internet service provider.