SpaceX Starlink Internet Service Surpasses 1M Subscribers
SpaceX announced on Monday that Starlink satellite internet service surpassed 1 million subscribers.
“Starlink now has more than 1,000,000 active subscribers – thank you to all customers and members of the Starlink team who contributed to this milestone,” SpaceX tweeted Monday.
Starlink is a constellation of satellites in Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) that provides broadband internet service in areas where terrestrial options are unavailable or lacking. The service is available around the world including much of Canada, Mexico, parts of the U.S. and the Caribbean, Chile, Brazil, parts of Western Europe, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.
SpaceX has been consistently launching batches of Starlink satellites this year, with the latest launch on Saturday, Dec. 17 lifting 54 satellites to orbit. SpaceX has launched around 3,600 satellites for the constellation and independent tracking reports there are more than 3,200 in operation.
Starlink is nearing the subscriber count of broadband competitor Hughes Network Systems, which reported 1.285 million consumer subscribers at the end of the third quarter. The company has been shedding subscribers as it is maxed out on capacity for its current satellite fleet. Another satellite broadband competitor, Viasat, no longer reports subscriber numbers. Viasat last reported in spring 2021, reporting 590,000 subscribers.
SpaceX is gearing up for the second generation of the constellation as well. The FCC recently gave SpaceX partial approval for the second generation of the constellation. SpaceX had requested approval for 29,988 satellites, and the FCC approved 7,500, with additional constraints on the system. The FCC’s partial approval released Dec. 1 worked to strike a balance of approving the system in order to bridge the digital divide, while protecting against orbital debris and spectrum interference and responding to other operators’ concerns.
SpaceX also awaits the launch of its massive Starship rocket for the second generation of Starlink. SpaceX Founder Elon Musk previously said in an interview that Starship is necessary to launch Starlink Gen-2. SpaceX has not announced an orbital launch date for Starship.