SpaceX's Starlink satellite internet service is just in what's known as a public beta, meaning it's a work in progress but open to consumer testers. Still, it sounds like Elon Musk's would-be web provider is already pretty impressive, with users reporting download speeds faster than 95 percent of its competitors.
Starlink customers have been posting their numbers on Reddit as measured by internet speed tester Ookla. One example well illustrates just how impressive an accomplishment this is: A Starlink customer who lives in a remote area in the middle of Montana clocked an impressive download speed of 174 Mbps -- the average speed in the US is generally around 135 Mbps.
The beta tester was succinct: "Starlink will forever change the game."
That was Musk's intention from the time he announced the endeavor in 2015 -- to provide fast, low-latency internet connections for remote areas.
They might have been hedging their bets, but SpaceX initially tried to keep expectations low, reports Business Insider:
In the email to users, SpaceX said it was trying to "lower your initial expectations" about the beta test. The company aims to eventually beam internet service around the world with Starlink.
It said users could expect "brief periods of no connectivity at all" — and some have seen that during the trial. The West Coast user said that "interruptions are about ten to fifteen seconds, and seem to happen every few minutes."
The Reddit discussion thread has indeed recorded outages, but the excellent speeds are promising.
Regardless of how it turns out, Starlink is a fascinating SpaceX experiment, as a video one person made of the service's satellites communicating via laser demonstrates -- see below.
If Musk ever gets around to finding a way to connect his Starlink and the Neuralink brain chip implant then there will be humans walking around with literal connections to the stars in their brains. The future is getting really weird.
Here's how to get in on the Starlink public beta if you're interested: Pay $600 out of pocket. That's $499 for a tripod, WiFi router, and Starlink connection terminal, plus $99 a month. Then (hopefully) let the zippy connection begin. Learn more here: starlink.com.