Starlink Speed test leaked! SpaceX to get FCC’s Rural digital opportunity fund? – Today we will talk about the leaked starlink speedtests and SpaceXs possibility of getting federal Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. SpaceX is quite busy with its ambitious fleet of internet-beaming satellites Starlink. The company has already launched private beta program for the same.
The users that are enrolled in the service have to go through a Non Disclosure Agreement, Which prevents users from sharing anything related to the service they are getting. Yet in mid-August, people on the Starlink Subreddit started posting results of the speeds they are getting from Starlink.
Speedtest.net allows users to anonymously share the results, this allowed the beta testers to bypass the Agreement with spacex and share the results with the internet. The results shared on reddit shows a download speed ranging from 35 to 60 megabits per second, while the upload speeds were from 5 to 18 megabits per second. But the best part was the ping that the users were getting.
Ping is a latency measure of how long it takes data to go to and from a user’s computer to a server on the internet, This enables users to have smooth experience while doing realtime tasks on the internet, like gaming and video conferencing. SpaceX promised ping to be as low as 20ms on their network, as the satellites are stationed in the low earth orbit. And the signal travels faster in the air than in fibre cables.
The results from the testers shows the ping as it was promised, it was always below 100 milliseconds and was as low as 20 milliseconds at times. Ookla, which runs Speedtest.net, confirmed that the results were legitimate. These numbers are great for someone who does not have access to good broadband, but SpaceX had expected much better speeds from the fleet of satellites.
We also have to consider that these are early results and things will improve over time with more and more satellites going to orbit. Given its extensive lobbying efforts, SpaceX is likely using Starlink to compete for a large pool of Federal Communications Commission subsidies this fall, called the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.
The goal of the new $20.4 billion, two-phase program is to deliver high-speed, low-latency web access to parts of rural America where no broadband service is available. FCC defines the speed to be minimum of 25 megabits per second download and 3 megabits per second upload speeds. The agency considers this fast enough to telecommute, do schoolwork, or stream 4K video.
The FCC plans to pay up to $16 billion this fall to those providers that can bring the best broadband access to the most areas for the lowest cost. Starlink might seem like a shoo-in for the subsidies, since its coverage would, according to Musk, eventually reach almost anywhere on Earth and far outperform the speed and latency of older satellite fleets.
It also seems to clear important FCC thresholds of bandwidth and latency no greater than 100 milliseconds. But it is unclear whether SpaceX has even applied for the Fund. FCC did not disclose the list of applicants for the Fund, nor SpaceX commented anything on this matter. Yet, going by the trend of SpaceX competing for the government subsidies and contracts, One should not be surprised if they did apply for the Fund.
Even if SpaceX does get the fund, it will not be able to compete in the highest tier which requires
gigabit speed. But it seems like they have sorted out the ping puzzle. Whether SpaceX gets the subsidies or not, I am quite excited about the future of the starlink network. I just can’t wait to get my hands on the starlink User terminal.
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