Starlink is a satellite internet service recently launched by SpaceX. Internet speeds have been comparable to those offered by broadband providers across the country. There are about 90,000 customers who have tapped into the network, which is above the goal that CEO Elon Musk had when the service was first put into motion. If the network continues operating as it is now and customers continue to join, then Starlink could launch globally so that more people can access the internet, especially in areas where the service hasn’t been available.
There have been a few speed tests performed in areas across the country where Starlink has been in place for some time. After reviewing the details of the tests, it was discovered that Starlink’s speeds are comparable to those offered by high-speed internet providers. This means that Starlink could give other companies quite the competition. Speeds are fast enough to handle most of the tasks that customers need to perform online, such as gaming and searching on websites. HughesNet is in second place with speeds that are quite a bit slower than those offered by Starlink. In third place is Viasat, which is a company that has seen a decrease in the number of users over the past few years.
Broadband users in the country typically see an average download speed of 115 Mbps depending on the company that they use. Starlink’s average is 97 with higher speeds in areas that have more connections available. HughesNet has a download speed of about 20 Mpbs, which is significantly lower than what’s offered by Starlink.
Up in Space
Starlink by SpaceX offers latency that’s comparable to broadband providers, making it the only satellite-based company that an keep up with its competition in this manner without using cables and fiber-optic connections. Latency is the length of time that it takes from starting a task to when it’s finished and you receive some kind of response. Satellites that Starlink has launched have been placed in a lower orbit so that they can provide a better connection for users. With the satellites closer to the Earth’s surface, it also means that they deliver a connection that’s a bit more stable compared to the satellites that other companies use, such as HughesNet. Many of the other satellites are about 35,000 km above Earth, which can result in a lost connection at times or even an outage if the connection between the satellites and devices isn’t strong enough. Starlink has launched about 1,800 satellites and could launch more in the future in order to provide internet services to other areas of the world. Some of the satellites that are already in orbit aren’t fully operational, which is another reason why Starlink hasn’t spread out to other countries.
While other companies have satellites that are over 30,000 km above Earth, Starlink has tried to keep satellites under 1,500 km, which is another reason why speeds are so much faster than the competition. This way, people can do work from home, online classes and enjoy streaming their favorite TV shows and movies or playing online games. If Starlink were to launch satellites higher in orbit, then users might begin seeing slower speeds, which could result in customers choosing other providers. Starlink wasn’t created to compete with broadband providers. The company was formed to offer those who live in rural areas a way to connect to the internet so that they wouldn’t need to rely on slow connections or none at all.