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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Elon Musk’s Starlink Satellite Internet Is Becoming Faster

Elon Musk’s satellite internet venture Starlink hasn’t always enjoyed smooth sailing, but things are looking up for the company.
On Wednesday, Ookla, provider of the internet speed measurement tool Speedtest, released its latest satellite internet quarterly report, which measured the last three months of 2021. In spite of the fact that median download speeds are still below fixed broadband, Starlink came closer than it ever has to replicating quality home internet with a median download speed of 104 megabits per second.

Viasat and HughesNet, the other two major satellite internet providers in the U.S., delivered 21Mbps and 20Mbps, respectively. Nevertheless, Starlink saw plenty of variation in median speeds across the U.S. According to Ookla, parts of Florida got nearly 200Mbps, while parts of Oregon got 65Mbps. The median speed for all fixed broadband providers was 131Mbps, so even the best satellite service has some catching up to do.

Even so, the fact that Starlink’s median speeds exceed the FCC’s definition of broadband (25Mbps or more) even at the low end is potentially encouraging for the future of satellite internet, regardless of whether it comes from Musk or not. Now it’s just a matter of stability as the service grows. In the middle of last year, as the service gained more customers, Starlink’s median speed decreased. There’s also the matter of price, with the fastest Starlink service tier costing $500 per month.

So…yeah. Starlink works well, but that doesn’t mean it’s particularly accessible just yet. If you’re in Miami and don’t trust your local broadband provider, you might try Starlink.


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