Connectivity

Report: Starlink is much faster than it was last year

The service has more than doubled its global user base to 400,000 this year.
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Nearly two years after Starlink became available to consumers, SpaceX’s satellite-internet service continues to improve connectivity speeds, according to a new report by Ookla, a web service focused on internet speed tests.

​​The service is still slower than fixed broadband in the US and Canada but far ahead of satellite-broadband competitors like HughesNet and Viasat. But in several countries, like Australia and New Zealand, the service has faster download speeds than traditional fixed-broadband options, highlighting Starlink’s ability to deliver comparatively strong service in certain areas.

  • Starlink’s user base has grown to over 400,000 worldwide as of May, up from 145,000 at the start of the year. The service kicked off its public beta in October 2020.

By the numbers: The report found that median download speeds for Starlink in the US and Canada increased from Q1 2021 to Q1 2022. In the US, Starlink’s median download speeds improved ~38% from 65.72 Mbps in Q1 2021 to 90.55 Mbps in Q1 2022.

  • In the same window, Starlink’s download speed in Canada climbed ~58%, from 61.84 Mbps to 97.40 Mbps.
  • However, upload speeds regressed, with speeds in America dropping by at least 33% and by at least 36% in Canada, which the report said should be “negligible” for many users.

Improvements in Starlink’s speeds will be critical as the company expands its satellite constellation and coverage. The company launched 53 satellites last week to add to its constellation, which already consists of over 2,500 satellites.

  • Starlink released Starlink for RVs in June, the first portable iteration of its satellite-internet service. It was only available at fixed locations like homes prior to June.

Starlink also gained FCC approval last month to operate on vehicles in motion, including boats, planes, and trains. Part of that push included securing deals with Hawaiian Airlines and charter carrier JSX to provide in-flight wi-fi services, which Hawaiian Airlines said will be available as early as 2023.

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