Elon Musk is changing the world one day at a time. Yesterday, he announced that SpaceX's satellite network, Starlink, has passed “the strategically notable number of 69,420 active users,” and is on track to have 500k users within 12 months.
Starlink is a constellation of satellites in space that deliver high speed internet to consumers anywhere in the world. Satellite internet is especially useful in remote or rural locations, where ground-based fiber cannot reach. SpaceX first rolled out the service as a beta service for $99/month and has recently sought regulatory approval to expand the service to moving vehicles like ships and trucks. Starlink is operational in 12 countries and more are being added every month.
SpaceX loses money on the satellite antennas that it provides to customers, which cost them $1,300 but they charge users $499. The cost is expected to be recouped with the recurring revenues. Musk has estimated that it will cost SpaceX $5-$10 billion to become fully operational, then an additional $20-$30 billion investment in the long-term but could bring in as much as $30 billion in revenue per year.
Short Squeez Takeaway: For anyone who has traveled to hard-to-reach places knows how difficult it is to find reliable internet. As work becomes more hybrid post-pandemic and people travel more, the need for a remote internet service becomes even more important. If Starlink is able to pull off a high-speed, reliable internet service, it could be a big win for them. Beta users of the service have been fairly positive in their overall impressions of the service. The service would also be a game changer for rural America.