Well, this certainly wasn’t the news we were expecting to wake up to this morning. SpaceX’s Starlink low-latency, high-speed internet devices can be pre-ordered in South Africa. Right up until this morning it was only available to certain locations in the United States.
If you’re wondering why this is such a big deal, Starlink is essentially a service that looks to provide powerful internet connections to the world through low-earth orbit satellites. It’s an immensely exciting prospect that might do away with unreliable ISPs and shoddy connections.
The fact that such an advanced service is already available in South Africa is truly impressive but given that Elon Musk, head of SpaceX who hails from South Africa, perhaps he was just trying to throw a bone to his home country. Although let’s just be clear, Starlink isn’t available yet but pre-orders for South Africa are now open. You can put down a deposit to reserve your location and ensure that Starlink will be beaming YouTube down from space into your house. What a very exciting day this is.
There wasn’t a formal announcement from SpaceX or Starlink that Mzansi was available as a location but if you plug in your South African address with pre-ordering the service you’ll be taken to a payment page that will ask you to plug in your details and fork over a roughly R1,460 deposit. Places are currently limited so if you want in on this, you better move fast. The website also states that it expects to roll out connectivity in SA by 2022, so you’ll have to wait a year before you can channel the internet of tomorrow.
You’ll also be provided 15 minutes after entering all your information to finish up your deposit payment and if it doesn’t clear at that point then… well, you won’t have a spot reserved. All things considered, the placement price tag of just under R1,500 isn’t bad considering how fast Starlink’s internet is supposed to be.
You can expect between 50Mbps to 150Mbps with a latency of 20 milliseconds to 40 milliseconds. Be warned that the service might drop entirely at some points but this should improve over time. “As we launch more satellites, install more ground stations and improve our networking software, data speed, latency and uptime will improve dramatically,” reads the Starlink website.
You’ll eventually be sent a kit that will contain everything you need to connect to Starlink, including a “Wi-Fi router, power supply, cables and mounting tripod.” You’ll also need a clear view of the sky, so don’t bother if you’re a mole person. Oh, and you’ll wind up paying for the hardware, and a monthly fee for your connection.
You register your spot in the Starlink program by simply heading on over the website here.