SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell hopes that SpaceX can “rejuvenate the industry” while also allowing “young children to consider entering the space industry again.”
Kimberly White | Vanity Fair | Getty Images
SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell believes that the company will not add “tiered pricing”
Shotwell said: “I don’t think we will tiered pricing for consumers. We will try to keep it as simple and transparent as possible, so there are currently no plans for tiering for consumers.” On the virtual panel on Tuesday Delivered a speech at the 2021 satellite “LEO Digital Forum”.
In a tiered pricing system, the customer pays depends on the level of service he or she chooses.
Starlink is the company’s capital-intensive project, which aims to build an interconnected Internet network consisting of thousands of satellites, which is called the constellation in the aerospace industry, and aims to provide high-speed Internet to consumers anywhere on the planet.
Starlink user terminal installed on the roof of a Canadian building.
So far, the company has launched more than 1,200 artificial satellites into orbit.
In October, SpaceX began rolling out the early Starlink service in the public beta. The service has now expanded to customers in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, and New Zealand-in addition to the upfront cost, the service is priced at $99 per month in the United States. . The equipment required to connect to the satellite.
Elon Musk’s company continued to expand Starlink’s services, and in the first three months of the public beta, it gained more than 10,000 users. Shotwell pointed out that SpaceX has no “timetable for exiting the beta phase” and stated that the company still “does a lot of work to make the network reliable.”
Musk’s company plans to expand Starlink beyond the home, requiring the FCC to extend its connection authorization to “mobile vehicles” so that the service can be used for everything from airplanes to ships to large trucks.
Currently, SpaceX is focused on serving customers in rural and hard-to-reach areas. Shotwell said that Starlink “will be able to provide services to every rural household in the United States,” or “approximately 60 million people.” . Although SpaceX is adding services to other countries/regions, Shotwell said that SpaceX was initially focused on the United States, “because they can speak English and they are very close, if there is a problem with their dishes, we can quickly ship them out.”
Shotwell added: “But we definitely want to expand this capability beyond the United States and Canada.”
SpaceX absorbs most of the cost of Starlink equipment
A box with Starlink kit, with user terminal and Wi-Fi router.
The main obstacle to Starlink and any satellite-based broadband service is the cost of the user terminal: the ground equipment that connects the customer to the network.
Shotwell said that SpaceX has “made great strides in reducing costs” for the “Starlink” user terminal, which was initially priced at approximately US$3,000. She said that the price of these terminals is now less than $1,500, and SpaceX “launched a new version that saved $200 in cost.”
This means that SpaceX bears about two-thirds of the terminal cost, because the company charges Beta version customers a user terminal prepayment of $499. Musk said earlier this year that Starlink “needs to experience a deep gap of negative cash flow,” a large part of which is expected to be due to the cost of user terminals.
Although SpaceX has not charged customers the full cost of the terminal so far, Shotwell said that the company does hope that its costs can be “dropped to within a few hundred dollars in the next year or two.”
Starlink is a “complement” to existing broadband services
After the company’s 17th mission, 60 Starlink satellites were deployed into orbit.
Shotwell once again emphasized the previous comments of the SpaceX leadership that Starlink does not want to replace the services of “giant providers AT&T, Comcast, etc.” because she pointed out that its satellite Internet is “very helpful for the services it provides.”
Shotwell said: “The Starlink system is most suitable for highly distributed rural or semi-rural populations.”
Shotwell also said that SpaceX’s challenge is to learn how to scale for consumer customers while “making sure we can build a reliable network.” However, she added that these are not “challenges that we cannot solve.”