SpaceX announced that Starlink, its internet service provider, has more than 1 million subscribers. CEO Elon Musk’s Twitter trash fire didn’t stop enough people from signing up for his ISP to keep it from reaching this milestone.
SpaceX’s official Twitter account said Monday that Starlink has over 1,000,000 subscribers. SpaceX expressed gratitude to everyone who contributed to this milestone.
Starlink’s impressive subscriber numbers may not sound very impressive, but it could be a problem for existing customers.
Starlink’s average download speeds have fallen year-on-year in all countries that Starlink tracks since the second quarter of 2021.
Ookla noted that these speed drops ranged between nine and 54 percent. Ookla suggested they could be due to Starlink’s infrastructure buckling under the growing user base. In May, the service had more than 400,000 users. The price drop in August might have attracted even more people to sign up.
SpaceX also announced that it had partnered with T-Mobile in August to enable customers’ phones to connect directly to Starlink satellites. Beta testing will begin in the latter part of 2023. Starlink could gain even more users from this.
Starlink’s slow speeds are likely to be a concern for the company, so they have taken steps to reduce both expectation and use.
SpaceX’s November fair use policy states that customers who exceed data limits during their monthly billing cycles will have their internet speed throttled. This is a deliberate slowdown.
Users will have to pay an additional fee to restore their speed. SpaceX will begin Starlink’s second-generation satellite launches before the end of the year. This could reduce the load.
Astronomers who already worry about night sky pollution from Musk’s satellites will be even more affected by this. SpaceX currently has more than 3,000 satellites orbiting the earth and plans to launch 42,000. Up to 12,000 satellites have been approved so far.