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Starlink Community Gateways boast 10 Gbps speeds from space – but it costs millions

Published Jan 17th, 2024 11:36AM EST
Starlink community gateway
Image: Starlink

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Starlink is obviously the leading company in the world when it comes to providing reliable internet connectivity from space. The SpaceX company is now moving into new territory and, instead of just offering small dishes for van lifers, boaters, and remote homeowners, is looking to expand its larger community-level product.

The company has announced a new program called Community Gateways which claims to offer fiber-like internet performance from space. While that sounds awesome, this isn’t something you’re going to be able to buy for yourself. Starlink Community Gateways will cost partners a one-time fee of $1.25 million and $75,000 per month per gigabit of performance.

Starlink says that Community Gateways are capable of download speeds up to 10 gigabits per second, upload speeds up to 10 gigabits per second, and latency less than 99 milliseconds. The company is targeting the new program towards internet providers who are looking to provide service to customers in remote areas where satellite internet may make more sense than running fiber optic cables.

With Community Gateways, Starlink satellites are able to deliver fiber-like speeds with local providers distributing connectivity to homes, businesses, and governments using last-mile fiber, fixed wireless and mobile wireless. The Community Gateway traffic transits through Starlink’s global laser mesh network and utilizes our high bandwidth Gateways operating in a dedicated Ka spectrum band.

While the program is now open to partners to apply, Starlink already has its first Community Gateway operational — most likely built as a concept to ensure the service worked — in Alaska. The company says the service is achieving the promises it is making to other remote areas that may want to participate in the program.

Our first Community Gateway on the remote island of Unalaska, Alaska is able to provide 10 gigabits of symmetric uplink and downlink throughput, enough to serve thousands of new customers while operating at over 99% uptime.

Emmett Fitch, CEO of OptimERA xG, the internet service provider in Unalaska, Alaska that worked with Starlink to deploy the gateway, said in a statement that this new service will be able to bring fiber optic speeds to “anywhere on the planet.”

The Community Gateway represents the beginning of something great for delivering gbps speeds to anywhere on the planet. Areas that never dreamed of having this capability will now be able to develop new ideas for making use of this technology. Where we are going we don’t need roads.

Starlink's Direct to Cell satellite cellular serviceImage source: Starlink

As Starlink starts to roll out its Community Gateway program, it is also planning to launch its satellite cellular service later this year. At launch, the service will only support texting, but it promises to add support for voice and data as well as IOT (Internet of Things) in 2025. Direct to Cell will be available at launch for T-Mobile customers in the United States, Optus customers in Australia, Rogers customers in Canada, One NZ customers in New Zealand, KDDI customers in Japan, and SALT customers in Switzerland.

Starlink is also preparing to have more competition in the space internet industry. Amazon is planning to launch Project Kuiper, its Starlink competitor, later this year as well. The first of the company’s satellite internet lineup is the standard terminal which will be capable of speeds up to 400 megabits per second and will cost less than $400. The second dish will weigh less than a pound and offer speeds up to 100 megabits per second and the third is a larger dish targeted to enterprise, government, and telecommunications applications that will be capable of speeds up to 1 gigabit per second.

Joe Wituschek Tech News Contributor

Joe Wituschek is a Tech News Contributor for BGR.

With expertise in tech that spans over 10 years, Joe covers the technology industry's breaking news, opinion pieces and reviews.