SpaceX CEO Elon Musk may be rolling out a new Global Roaming service to serve customers in far-flung corners of the globe where Starlink-enabled internet is not yet available.
More than a million people currently use the broadband service ideal for remote areas that lack a fiber-optic network, since connectivity is delivered by a dense network of satellites in low earth orbit.
Screenshots posted to social media indicate that Starlink, the main commercial arm of Musk’s $137 billion company, sent an invite for a new Global Roaming service that allows users to “connect from almost anywhere on land in the world.” But customers should be prepared to dig deep for the privilege.
SpaceX unveiled in an email to customers inviting them to try Starlink global roaming service. It costs $200 per month and involves a one-time fee of $599 for the kit. pic.twitter.com/6u4BoFr88Z— Ack (@ackmeni) February 20, 2023
According to the email, users will need to shoulder a one-time cost of $599 for a Starlink Kit, which is made up of a disk to connect to the satellites, a tripod, and a Wi-Fi router. On top of that, users will also need to fork over $200 a month for the service itself, almost double what it charges residential customers in the United States. Including the setup costs and fees for a full year of broadband access, they’ll rack up a bill of $3,000.
Customers who aren’t satisfied with the high-speed, low-latency service can get their money back on the hardware within 30 days, the email adds. It is unclear if they will also be refunded the $200 for the first month of service. They can also cancel at any time.
Currently Global Roaming can only be paid for in U.S. dollars, the email continues. “If you are based outside of the U.S. you will also be responsible for acting as the importer of record for the Starlink Kit, which may include the payment of customs duties and import taxes, if required.”
The email also pledges to increase the quality of service, admitting Starlink had been “intermixed with brief periods of poor connectivity, or none at all.” The email adds: “However this will improve dramatically over time.”
Where can you get this service?
The service is also subject to regulatory approvals, the email adds, which is an issue SpaceX cofounder Elon Musk has previously highlighted. When asked earlier this year if Starlink could assist in Turkey after a massive earthquake hit, the Tesla and Twitter CEO replied it could be deployed “as soon as approved.”
Starlink is not approved by Turkish government yet. SpaceX can send as soon as approved.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 6, 2023
In other crisis-hit countries however, Musk has pulled back the service. In Ukraine he restricted the nation’s access to his satellites saying he didn’t want to be responsible for escalating the war. Earlier this month he tweeted: “Starlink is the communication backbone of Ukraine, especially at the front lines, where almost all other internet connectivity has been destroyed. But we will not enable escalation of conflict that may lead to WW3.”
For those who want to know where the coverage is currently, the email also links to Starlink’s map which shows availability now and where it’s coming in the future.
The map shows there is no coverage in authoritarian countries like Russia or China as well as Afghanistan, Syria, North Korea, Belarus, and Iran (where protesters demonstrating against the regime had hoped to receive the service). India is pending regulatory approval while coverage is coming to the likes of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt in 2024.
PCMag added that the email had been sent to at least two people who lived outside the catchment countries of Starlink coverage, who added they have been waiting for access since early 2021.
SpaceX did not immediately respond to Fortune when contacted for comment.
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