Elon Musk provided an update today on the “Better Than Nothing” Starlink beta testing program, and there’s some potentially good news for Canadians.
SpaceX began the public beta testing of the Starlink satellite internet service recently, after several months of private testing with employees. Invitations were sent out to potential testers last week, who would have to pay $499USD for the ‘Starlink Kit’, as well as a monthly $99 USD subscription.
This afternoon Musk revealed the beta testing program will be seeing a big expansion with “several thousand” more invites being sent later this week.
Several thousand more Starlink beta participation invitations going out this week
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 2, 2020
So far we’ve seen some beta testers located very close to the Canadian border in Washington State, but no one north of the 49th parallel has been invited to participate. Since a large swath of Canada was identified as a prime testing area earlier this year in leaked documents, there’s a good chance some Canadians might be included in this next batch of invitations.
If that happens is largely dependent on SpaceX having the required licenses and approvals in place from the Government of Canada. Last month the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) approved SpaceX’s basic telecom license, but the company still needs a satellite spectrum license from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) to offer the beta program to Canadians.