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SpaceX’s Starlink asks potential service testers for addresses, says private beta starts this summer

By Darrell Etherington

Starlink, the high-bandwidth, low-latency broadband internet service that SpaceX is in the process of deploying, has sent out an email to those who’ve registered their interest in becoming beta testers. The email asks for a specific address, to replace the previously requested zip codes (or area codes in Canada) for potential testers to help them be more specific about network availability.

The email asserts that SpaceX’s Starlink private beta will kick off this summer, with a “public beta to follow.” Those who’ve registered their interest and signed up to receive updates about the service will be notified “if beta testing opportunities become available,” SpaceX continues in the email.

SpaceX has continued to launch new batches of Starlink satellites as it grows its constellation ahead of its official service launch. So far, it looks like a very few select individuals have been able to actually use Starlink-powered internet connections, including SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk (naturally) and early SpaceX investor Steve Jurvetson .

To date, SpaceX has launched a total of 540 Starlink satellites, though a number have either been deorbited, deactivated or died, leaving a total of likely somewhere over 500 currently active. The company has three more launches confirmed as planned through August, including one that was delayed from June and that will now likely occur later this month.

Meanwhile, SpaceX has been lining up its regulatory requirements for operating, including applying for a telecom operator license in Canada with the intent of delivering connections to rural parts of the country. It’s also eligible for U.S. funding earmarked for companies that can narrow the broadband gap in the U.S., though it’s likely to miss out on a lucrative first tranche of those federal funds because of a requirement to demonstrate low-latency in existing connections during a window closing this week.

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