Starlink’s satellite broadband system is starting to slow down in the US as it adds customers, but it remains blazing fast in Canada and other countries, according to new stats from Ookla Speedtest.
According to Ookla, Starlink median download speeds in the US declined from 97.23Mbps to 87.25Mbps between Q2 and Q3 2021, although they were still far faster than satellite competitors Hughesnet and Viasat, which are stuck in the 20Mbps range.
More importantly for your work-from-home life, Starlink remains the only satellite system with latency anywhere near what you get from landline and cellular connections; its 44ms latency is less than one-tenth what Hughesnet and Viasat suffer under.
As Ookla notes, modest declines in speed should be expected as a service ramps up its users. Starlink continues to launch more satellites to increase capacity, with the most recent launch of 52 satellites coming on Dec. 18. The publication Inverse estimates that the company will launch at least 36 sets of new satellites in 2022, increasing capacity.
Abroad, Starlink Rules
Starlink is a global system, and in many other countries its performance is spectacular, Ookla’s report says.
In Canada, Starlink performance has been relatively flat over the past two quarters, and it’s a “viable alternative to fixed broadband,” Ookla says. In Manitoba, Nova Scotia, PEI, Quebec and Saskatchewan, Starlink downloads were overall faster than fixed broadband.
In France, Germany, New Zealand and the UK, Starlink’s median speed was faster than fixed broadband, the report says.
Price also plays a role in Starlink’s desirability, of course. In Canada, Starlink’s monthly fee is CAD$129 (US$100), whereas Bell’s 25Mbps wireless home Internet (using a rural Nova Scotia address as an example) costs $94.95/month with a 350GB cap; in France, Starlink costs 99 euros/month (US$112) while most Internet providers cost 30 euros or less. So Stalink appears much more economically appealing in Canada than in Europe.
Disclosure: Ookla is owned by PCMag parent company, Ziff Davis. No preferential access to data was given for this story.