For people otherwise stuck with sluggish performance from earlier satellite technologies or DSL, Starlink looks like a promising way to get up to speed.
BY ROB PEGORARO
In less than a year, Elon Musk’s space startup SpaceX has gone from having launched 242 Starlink satellites to exceeding 1,000 as it builds its constellation of satellites dedicated to providing broadband internet access back on Earth, particularly for people who might lack other good options.
Those 1,025 “smallsats” sent to space (962 remain in orbit, as tracked by astronomer Jonathan McDowell) have given rise to something new on the ground: testimony from early Starlink customers about SpaceX’s low-Earth-orbit broadband.
Since the October opening of Starlink’s “Better Than Nothing Beta” to early adopters willing to pay $499 for receiver hardware and $99 per month for the service, reports have been bubbling up in such online forums as Reddit’s r/Starlink.
They generally agree that Starlink’s satellites, around 340 miles up, easily beat the previous options in much of the target rural market: aging DSL connections that might be no faster than 3G wireless speeds, and laggy satellite broadband from geosynchronous orbit, 22,236 miles up.
“I am more than satisfied,” emailed Leigh Phillips, a software developer in Kelowna, British Columbia. He called his speeds—downloads averaging 110 megabits per second (Mbps) and uploads of 20 Mbps, per the dashboard he posted— “good to go” for a household with two working parents, plus moderate gaming and video streaming.
Another r/Starlink regular, a business owner in Duluth, Minnesota, who asked to be identified as Bryan, reported slower connectivity— “upload speeds are pretty consistent (around 7 Mbps) but download speeds seem to swing quite a bit from 40-190 Mbps”—that he called “definitely acceptable” for streaming.
He said his other broadband, CenturyLink DSL, hits 30 Mbps down and 2 Mbps up on good days.
Continue reading… “What Starlink beta testers really think about Elon Musk’s satellite internet”