Starlink is the satellite internet service provided by Elon Musk’s SpaceX. While satellite internet services have been available for many years, this is being constructed very differently. Powered by a constellation of thousands of small satellites, they are positioned in low Earth orbit, much closer than traditional satellites.
The advantage of this approach is that Starlink is able to offer high speed, low-latency internet to the world. Currently in beta, the constellation is progressing in its service area as SpaceX launch more satellites (60 at a time). Today we learnt that all 72 orbital planes should be active in August, just 2 months from now.
Another big question for satellite internet service is what degradation occurs to speeds, as new users join. Musk has confirmed that a new peak threshold for simultaneous users was reached last night. 69,420 users were using Starlink at the same time, which is obviously a great number for the memes, but is still a long way from what we’d expect from the maximum capacity of the network. I want to know what happens if there are a million users (or devices) connected to Starlink.
From all accounts, regular performance was maintained as the service pushed through this milestone.
Starlink services are available in Australia and speed tests reveal regular download speeds of around 2-300Mbps consistently, which for the A$139.00 and no data cap, is a compelling offering. If you have FTTP, or are in metro areas, then obviously you’ll likely get a better deal on the NBN. For regional and rural customers, this will be a significant boost to their internet services.
Having wrapped the world in internet coverage, it does get people thinking about what other possible use cases there are for Starlink. In response to a question from Viv, Musk detailed that they are indeed working on approval for providing internet to flights. In-flight WiFi by Starlink, has the opportunity to dramatically lower costs to customers, improve speeds and lower latency.