Washington State, U.S.A. – SpaceX has opened up pre-orders for its Starlink satellite internet service, and Maldives is expected to receive coverage in 2022.
Inputting both Malé and Addu City Plus Codes in Starlink’s website reveal that Starlink is targeting coverage in these areas in 2022. However, they noted that availability is limited, and orders are to be fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis.
Some locations- mostly areas in the U.S., when entered on the website return a notice saying coverage won’t be available until “mid to late 2021,” while some more remote areas, like the Maldives say 2022.
Starlink is a project by Elon Musk’s SpaceX that aims to bring high-speed internet to consumers anywhere on the planet by creating a network of satellites in space which they refer to as a “constellation.”
With their last satellite launch on the 4th of February 2021, Starlink now has 1,085 satellites in orbit, with Musk revealing plans to deploy 4,425 by 2024.
The Tesla CEO said recently that there are “over 10,000 users in the United States and abroad” so far who have already signed up for the broadband service through Starlink’s beta-test from back in October.
Starlink claims that it’s service is currently “meeting and exceeding 100/20 Mbps throughput to individual users.”, with some users online claiming that they get around 50 to 150Mbps.
To connect to the satellite service, users will need to purchase a special Starlink kit that costs $499 and includes a mountable dish antenna, a Wi-Fi router, and a power supply. Musk has said that the price of the kit will remain largely unchanged worldwide, but that shipping and taxes may make the kit a bit more expensive in some areas.
Starlink’s broadband service is currently available for pre-order on Starlink’s website for $99 USD per month. The $99 deposits are fully refundable and “may take 6 months or more to fulfill,” the website says.
While upfront costs are very high compared to local broadband internet in the Maldives, the promised flexibility, the relatively low monthly payment of $99 for speeds of up to 200mbps, and the extremely low latency makes the investment worthwhile when looking at the currently available packages in Maldives, especially since Starlink does not plan to set data caps – commonly referred to as “Fair Usage Allowance”(FUA) by local internet service providers.
Internet prices in the Maldives are some of the highest in the region, and while Telecommunication giants Dhiraagu and Ooredoo have brought minute changes to there internet prices, FUA or data caps are present in all internet plans, and when exhausted – greatly reduce internet speeds which force users to buy multiple add-ons.
Predatory business tactics such as this have allowed the only two main internet providers in Maldives, to walk away with millions in profit despite a global pandemic. However, they may soon receive a long overdue wake-up call as more fairly priced companies plan provide their services in Maldives.