signing up for starlink

Yesterday I spent $99 for the privilege of waiting in line for a possible Starlink slot here in Orlando, Florida. There’s no guarantee I’ll get one, and if I do, it won’t happen until “beginning mid to late 2021,” if it happens at all.

I’m doing this because I’m tired of my terrestrial service provider, Spectrum. They bought out Brighthouse Networks, which was a spinout of Time Warner Cable. So you can see I’ve been doing business with that entire group for some number of years. Spectrum keeps slowly raising my monthly rates so that I’m now back up to $124/month. Yes, this month they doubled my download rate to about 200MBS “at no extra charge!”.

I  think that Spectrum’s speed boost is more than just a coincidence with Starlink offering service in my area. And if I stay with Starlink, I’ll have to pay an additional $400 to purchase the antenna and associated equipment. But after that, my monthly fee is a flat $99/month, with speeds starting at $100MBS, which was where I was at before Spectrum boosted mine.

My only problem I need to solve is what to do with my house phone. That’s part of my cable package. I’ve already looked into using an AT&T device to in essence add my home phone to my wireless plan, for an additional $15/month. With my home line split out of my cable package, I have the freedom to pick whomever I want for data, and right now, that selection is Starlink.

I also want to make my home a bit more robust. Earlier this year I installed a UPS and put all my comm gear and one of my computers on it. Sure enough, Florida Flash and Flicker lost power on a clear and sunny day. Everything stayed up on the UPS for the two hours we were without power. Unfortunately Spectrum lost power as well (the loss hit over 1,000 customers). When my home power came back I was still out of Internet connectivity for another three hours as Spectrum fixed their equipment issues. So much for power backup; I still had to power cycle my cellular modem/access point to get everything sorted out.

So here’s to the future. Terrestrial service providers are going to get some real competition in the very near future. And I believe that many of us are going to move to Starlink, or something very similar.


an incredible example of what we can accomplish

After spending two months at the International Space Station, Nasa astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken returned to earth in excellent fashion. Demo Mission 2 was a textbook launch, a textbook stay at the ISS, and a textbook landing.

There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind what Space X is capable of technically. They are a positive force in the space industry to be reckoned with. The Space X success stands in such stark contrast to the multiple failures of Boeing’s Starliner which “flirted” with disaster in January of this year.

Next launch will be the Crew 1 mission, with a crew of four composed of NASA astronauts Micheal Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi. The compose the first operation mission, Expedition 64. They should launch some time in September if all goes as planned.

I am so happy to have watched Demo 2 unfold. After the unrelenting and unfolding disasters of the pandemic, which has triggered a major economic collapse, as well as the social unrest due to systemic racism, this success was such a wonderful and welcome change.