Residents of rural Allen Township, Ohio will be among the first people to test drive the cutting edge Starlink satellite internet system, state officials announced Wednesday.
Lt. Governor Jon Husted said 90 household and 10 small businesses – which are currently underserved by high speed internet services – will be part of pilot program for Starlink beginning next year.
Husted added that the program was part of DeWine-Husted administration’s commitment to expand high speed internet access.
Allen Township is located near Marysville, Ohio about 35 miles northwest of Columbus. The township has a population of about 2,200 people.
The Starlink system developed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX utilizes thousands of small satellites orbiting the earth to provide broadband internet service. Beta testing began in November. The Federal Communication Commission has already approved the use of 12,000 satellites for the system, but not all have been launched.
SpaceX calls this network a constellation and, at times, the satellites have been seen from earth orbiting in “trains.”
Those in North America may be able to buy their internet through Starlink some time next year. CNBC reported that company documents showed a consumer cost of $99 a month plus an initial cost of $499 for a dish receiver.
Those chosen to participate in the pilot program will get the service at no cost for 12 months, Husted said.
FCC filings show that SpaceX wants to launch another 30,000 satellites for the Starlink system. The satellites will burn up in the atmosphere after one to five years, the company says, which is meant to cut down on space debris.
“This past year has shown that now more than ever, access to high speed internet is an essential element for participating in the modern economy, education and health care systems,” said Lt. Governor Jon Husted. “Too many Ohioans have unreliable broadband, or no connection at all, and Governor DeWine and I are committed to finding solutions to this challenge.”
The pilot program was organized by a partnership between InnovateOhio, BroadbandOhio, the City of Marysville, economic leaders in Union County and JobsOhio.