Starlink speeds increasing to 300Mbps (12x NBN’s SkyMuster Sat Service) with just 20ms latency in 2021

Starlink's getting faster and that's a big problem for the NBN. ...

Elon Musk has just confirmed that the speeds available on SpaceX’s Starlink satellite service will improve dramatically by the end of the year.

Anthony Iemole (@SpaceXFan97) posted a photo of his Startlink receiving dish setup in the snow, along with a speedtest result. This test revealed a download speed of 130Mbps and latency of 131ms. There’s plenty of other Starlink users sharing speed tests, but Musk chose to reply to this one.

In the response, Musk says Starlink’s speed will double to around 300Mbps and reduce latency to a very impressive ~20ms later this year. As an FTTP user, I regularly get ping times of 10-16ms, so 20 is seriously impressive.

Starlink recently became available to order in many parts of the world, including Australia. The order page lists Australian availability as ‘mid to late 2021’.

With the timeline for the speed improvements identified by Musk’s response, its now likely that Starlink speeds deliver those speeds from the start of Australian availability.

Starlink is a satellite internet service, made up of a growing number (eventually thousands) of mass-produced small satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO), working in combination with ground transceivers.

Musk followed up with more detail on the rollout.

Musk doesn’t mention any change to the current pricing, so we’re expecting the price will remain. As it stands today, it costs A$709.00 for the hardware, $100 for shipping and handling. You then pay A$139 per month and at this time there are no data caps under the Starlink Beta program.

By comparison, the NBN’s Skymuster satellite which is used by rural and remote customers in Australia, are only able to get a maximum of 25Mbps/5Mpbs, a paid upgrade on the standard 12Mbps/1Mbps.

At those speeds, Starlink’s 300Mbps would offer 12 times the speed possible on SkyMuster.

By way of pricing comparisons, Reatil Service Provider Clear, offers SkyMuster plans that start at $39.95 per month for just 85GB of data (15GB peak, 70GB off-peak).

The largest plan available comes with a 305GB download cap (145GB peak, 160GB off-peak) and costs a massive $204.95 per month (more than Starlink, with much slower speeds and download caps. That’s a difficult sell.

As you can see compared to NBN SkyMuster plans, Starlink month costs are far cheaper and speeds many multiple times faster. While Starlink does have a one-off hardware cost, it is a clear winner for those outside the FTTP footprint.

With much of Australia still connected by FTTN, there’s a great chance many of those customers who are hardware limited, are looking at the potential speeds on Starlink and thinking that may be an option worth considering.

While launching satellites into space isn’t cheap, Starlink as an ISP has the potential to capture customers across the globe, meaning the viability and cost models of SkyMuster is potentially in some danger over the long term.

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Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021
7 Comments on this post.

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  • John Kitchener
    23 February 2021 at 2:03 pm
    • Jason Cartwright
      23 February 2021 at 3:34 pm

      Glad people are analysing the content I write and I have a few responses.

      ‘Yup, so $809 up front with a one year equipment guarantee. Your cost to return to Melbourne should it fail in that period. Who knows what happens after?’

      ISP provided networking equipment /routers etc aren’t a new concept. Personally I don’t think about brand new hardware failing giving it typically happens a tiny % of the time. It’s not out yet and there’s no public information regarding return policies that I’m aware of.

      ‘No. Sky Muster Plus offers up to 50Mbps down and 10Mbps up.’

      The data I used around 25Mbps/5Mbps comes from NBNco’s own website – https://www.nbnco.com.au/learn/network-technology/sky-muster-explained/sky-muster-plus-explained. I checked a number of RSPs offering Sat services and found 25Mbps was the top speed on offer. If others have faster, that’s great, but clearly remote users could still see a massive increase in speed by using Starlink over Skymuster.

      ‘Using 40Mbps that’s 7 times the speed, not 12.’

      I’m glad some people are able to get 40Mbps, however I expect that’s an outlier, not the typical experience, particularly during peak times. If the figure was 7x better, I’m sure those in rural and remote locations that have painfully slow internet, would still really appreciate it. Of course all of these speed are ‘up to’, I guess I expected most to understand that nothing is guaranteed, but when you move the top end higher, the average connection speed will move with it.

      ‘What happens should your Starlink service suffer disruption or fail altogether. What down time can you expect and at what cost to repair once your are outside the 12 month sign up period?’

      I just don’t go into new technology so pessimistic. I expect a company that can get rockets into space have a fairly robust testing strategy. Worst case the replace the hardware under warranty. Not sure why there’s so much focus on this.

      Leave a Reply
      • John Kitchener
        23 February 2021 at 8:14 pm

        Hi Jason,

        For rural and remote customers, reliability is criticall, so it IS very realistic to focus on availability (how many 9’s) and repair time in the event of a failure. There is no information from SpaceX on these metrics.

        Sky Muster has a proven track record.

        Local contracted support technicians with replacement equipment ‘in the van’ are a phone call away at no cost to the customer. Any down time is minimised, The static Sky Muster dish and ViaSat NTU have proved very reliable. In fact i am not aware of an NTU failure.

        By contrast StarLink support is out of Los Angeles and at this time logistics are also LA based.

        Sky Muster Plus’ is a standard nbn product. It is unique as it utilises layer three controls. nbn sub contract this task to IPSTAR.

        Sky Muster Plus performs very well as the results of my ACCC Sam Knows ‘whitebox’ demonstrate. My results are not an outlier and if anything are poorer than the majority.

        Not all RSP’s offer SM+.

        I am serviced by a Sky Muster East Coast beam. It is a very ‘busy’ beam. Sky Muster Plus supports excellent VoIP (voice telephony) via dedicated TC-1. Sky Muster Voip is my primary outgoing phone technology.
        Note: nbn are testing SM plus VoIP services for the current USO trials.

        I am not pessimistic about technology, I have spent a lifetime immersed in it, but any new radical technology will have it’s stumbles.

        We need to keep our eyes wide open and ensure that we are comparing apples with apples.

        Cheers

        John k

        Leave a Reply
        • Sean
          25 February 2021 at 2:32 pm

          This sounds like an ad. No one is happy with sky muster or the NBN.

          Leave a Reply
          • Jason Cartwright
            25 February 2021 at 4:36 pm

            Checks account… nope, definitely not an ad. I live in regional Australia, and am excited by an internet that services regional and rural customers across the world.

  • mihcael Jones
    25 February 2021 at 8:24 pm

    I regularly troubleshoot sky muster issues on properties all the time Starlink is FAR better value and FAR FAR faster Don’t know where this Jason fellow is coming from? Skymuster ping and download limits (these are the hours real people actually use the service) are TINY.

    Leave a Reply
  • Hendrik
    10 May 2021 at 9:32 am

    I’m on Skymuster Plus since a couple of days, with speeds of up to 40m/bits down, 12m/bits up. Which is better than expected and I’m very happy with that, however, the latency is the issue. Ping averages around 600ms. Another downer is expensive data for video streaming and the included 50GB in my plan probably won’t last long when streaming Netflix in HD. I work from home, doing lots of video calls, so I need to see how that works out. Satellite internet sales people should be upfront about the pros and cons. If I had known about the latency before the installing technician told me, I would have decided to wait for an alternative, as my 4G hotspot from the phone works ok. I’m considering signing up for Starlink now, I guess this will be the end of rural NBN over time. Billions of public dollars down the drain…

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