Read The Full Article On: Cleantechnica
On Thursday, when Elon Musk was online and tweeting about lighter matters than today’s hot topic, I created a silly Twitter poll about Starlink. I asked, “Will Elon let me beta test Starlink?” All of the answers were variations of “yes.” I’d been asking him on and off to let me beta test it, without really expecting an answer or reply. However, this time, he saw my question and said, “Sure :)” which really made my day.
Way more important than it sounds— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 7, 2020
One of the fun things about Elon Musk is that he is fun to interact with online. I admit, I’ve shared memes, minerals, and lengthy thread conversations with random people about many different topics, ranging from politics, fighting Tesla FUD (which is often spread intentionally and often unintentionally), and just simply connecting with other humans. Sometimes Elon jumps into these threads, too.
It makes Twitter a more fun and human experience when we can connect with real people — and when some of these people have millions of followers yet happen to see your tweet and engage with you. It makes the experience even more beautiful.
I couldn’t contain my excitement in this case, as you can see in my tweet below and Elon’s replied.
He explained (see above) that it would only work for higher latitudes, using Seattle as an example. Baton Rouge is much closer to the equator than Seattle is — and, to be honest, I am a wimp when it comes to the colder temperatures. Being from Louisiana, my personal preference is the soul-crushing humidity instead of the icy fingers of a merciless winter wind digging into my bones. I say this because I saw replies from people saying they would move if they were me.
When I shared the exciting news with my friends on Facebook, many messaged me asking what Starlink was. So, for those who may not know what it is, here’s a short intro.
SpaceX is using its platform to set up the world’s most advanced broadband internet system. The goal is to get everyone around the globe online with a speed performance that will surpass any other internet service.
The cost of Starlink, according to Reviews.org, is estimated to be around $80 per month — but I’ll come back to that rough estimate (WAG) in a moment. Also, fees, and equipment costs are estimated to be a range of $100 to $300. Keep in mind, no official prices have been announced and these are just estimates. Starlink is still in development, but SpaceX plans to allow private beta testing and then public beta testing. On its website, Starlink says that it is targeting service in the Northern US and Canada in 2020, with plans to rapidly expand to near-global coverage of the populated world by 2021.
The idea of $80 per month comes from something SpaceX’s President, Gwynne Shotwell, said in 2019. She said that millions of people here in America were paying $80 a month for “crappy service.” What she didn’t say was how much Starlink’s service would cost, or whether or not it would be higher or lower than the $80 per month. I personally pay around $60 a month for my T-Mobile prepaid hotspot.
Beta Testing Starlink
Since Elon mentioned that it would only work for higher latitudes at first, it may be a sweet minute before I get to beta test it. However, Elon is well known for keeping his promises to people and I am really excited. The idea of beta testing something that is going to change the internet — for the better — is really awe inspiring. I ran another Twitter poll just to see how other people would like me to beta test Starlink for others via a livestream. My internet is pretty fast most of the time, but it does have its moments, and some of those happen when I, on the rare occasion, do a livestream (usually mineral or silly kitten related).
My friend Mallory, who Elon replied to about allowing her to send him and Grimes, his girlfriend, a baby blanket for their newborn, said that she would love to see my gem collection. However, in the poll, my kitten seems to have gotten the most votes. (Sorry, LSU!)
If I get to beta test Starlink when all of this lockdown is over and the threat of the virus is over, I may just have a small livestream party at my place. We can show you just how fast Tesla can race up the walls chasing that elusive red dot.
Louisiana is situated along the Gulf of Mexico, so we are prone to hurricanes. Being in an area that is affected by tropical storms and hurricanes, I can appreciate an internet service that could be used despite power outages and other issues related to storm damage.
An Idea By Jennifer Sensiba
My friend and fellow writer here at CleanTechnica, Jennifer Sensiba, also had an idea for beta testing Starlink. Her request is that she would like to test Starlink for EmComm by integrating it with amateur radio in disaster areas. She’s part of a local mesh network set up with Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) equipment and Amateur Radio Emergency Data Network (AREDN) firmware, and believes that getting the ham radio community behind Starlink would also help quiet the detractors.
Her idea is simply brilliant. Integrating Starlink with amateur radio in disaster areas could potentially help keep communications online and save lives in times of disasters. A few years from now, it will be exciting to look back and see how far Starlink has come and just how much it will have advanced the internet itself.