Earlier this week, Elon Musk’s SpaceX updated its Starlink website to let prospective users sign up for beta test notifications.
Starlink is SpaceX’s high-speed internet service leveraging low orbit satellites, set to launch this year in Canada and the northern United States, with worldwide availability in 2021.
According to The Globe and Mail, SpaceX recently applied for a telecom license in Canada, submitting an application to the CRTC:
Space Exploration Technologies Corp.‘s application for a Basic International Telecommunications Services (BITS) licence, which was posted on the telecom regulator’s website on May 20, has already garnered hundreds of responses, many of them from rural Canadians cheering on the initiative.
A BITS license may not be required for a company offering just internet, but it would encompass all related services such as VoIP calls, reports the Globe.
In late May, the application was also spotted by users from the Starlink Reddit page. These users most likely helped add to the growing number of comments of support on the CRTC website, currently at over 1,325 (as of 9:38am PT). The deadline to add a comment of support is today, Friday, June 19, 2020.
Comments are mostly from Canadians supporting SpaceX and its Starlink internet endeavour. Rural Canadians are underserved for high-speed internet and pay high prices from existing internet service providers.
One letter from Robin Saunders, based in Perth, Ontario, writes: “Currently using a LTE data plan which is spotty and has a dreadfully low data cap. This will allow me to have proper internet at an affordable rate and setup cost. This will allow me to work and live properly in the modern era. FULL SUPPORT.”
Others mention having unreliable or little to no internet in rural areas. It’s clear there’s a demand for a service such as Starlink.
Elon Musk this week described the simple instructions for setting up Starlink internet, once customers acquire the necessary hardware: “Just two instructions for Starlink: plug in & point at sky. Can be done in either order.”
He also detailed latency, noting it’s “Around 20ms. It’s designed to run real-time, competitive video games. Version 2, which is at lower altitude could be as low as 8ms latency.”
On June 13, 2020, SpaceX launched 58 more Starlink satellites into space for its upcoming internet service.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 13, 2020
You can click here to comment on the CRTC’s website if you want to support SpaceX and Starlink Internet—the deadline to do so is today.
Update: Added correct link to comment on the CRTC’s website.