Initial SpaceX Starlink service in Canada will be limited

SpaceX Starlink terminal nicknamed "Dishy McFlatface". Credit: SpaceX.

The good news for those who have been waiting on the beta trial of the SpaceX Starlink service in Canada is that as soon as SpaceX gets approval from the Canadian government on its satellite spectrum license, SpaceX intends to roll-out its limited beta program as soon as possible. However, According to Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, the service in Canada does face another challenge.

In a series of emails with SpaceQ, Musk was candid about the Starlink service in Canada. He hopes that approval for their satellite spectrum license happens within 2 to 3 weeks, which means the beta program could begin in December. That’s the good news.

SpaceX also needs a license for each of its gateways, its ground stations in Canada. That could take longer. Users can only hope that it doesn’t take as long as another U.S. company, Planet Labs, which waited for several years.

Now because SpaceX doesn’t have any licensed gateways in Canada, the initial beta program will be limited to areas where U.S. gateways overlap into Canada according to Musk. He also said that would “increase latency.”

An intrepid Starlink fan mapped out all the FCC approved SpaceX U.S. gateways on Google Maps which includes showing the gateway overlap coverage area in Canada. Musk said the map was using a “slightly outdated list of gateways and their reach radius.”

A slightly outdated SpaceX Starlink map of U.S. gateways and coverage area showing overlap into Canada. Credit: Hummy/Google Maps.

Musk then said “we have good satellite coverage from ~57 degrees latitude to ~39 degrees. More gateways mean improved latency. Aiming to get it below 20ms over time.”

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“As more satellites reach their target orbit, more planes come online. We should be at 36 planes with all faulty satellites replaced by spares by Jan. That will give us continuous coverage down to around 30 degrees. By the end of next year, we hope to have full global coverage, including the poles.”

On pricing, Musk said the cost would be “pretty much” the same as the U.S., though needing to take into account the exchange rate. It’s been reported that the Starlink terminal and accessories will cost US$499, and that the service will be priced at US$99 a month.

** Read our latest stories on SpaceX Starlink. **

About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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