SpaceX Starlink sets up new record with its network speed of 200Mbps; but is it affordable?

Author at TechGenyz Tech
Starlink Internet Speed
Representational image of internet speed | Image credit: your_photo/freepik

Starlink, the satellite-based internet service from SpaceX, is still in its beta rollout stage but it is delivering spectacular results everyday within the field of work. It has recently set up a new self record as its network speed breaks 200Mbps. A recent report from Wccftech reveals Starlink’s continuous development in comparison to its rivals, HughesNet and Viasat.

A report from a reader of Sonoma County, California shows a varying level of test scores for the network. The lowest download speed for SpaceX’s satellite internet was 44Mbps whereas the highest is 200Mbps. This lowest download speed is still higher than that of the network speeds of HughesNet and Viasat. SpaceX also shared its data with Federal Communications Commission in October and it shows that Starlink has an average download speed of 80 Mbps, having increased from 43 Mbps in September.

The speed test result also shows different scores for different regions of USA. A test result from January reveals that Starlink network having a download speed of 190Mbps in Montana where as it was surpassed by Seattle and New York. These two cities show the score of 230 Mbps and 240 Mbps respectively in April.

FYI, for those who don’t know, Starlink is a global project from Elon Musk’s SpaceX and it aims to develop low latency, broadband internet system to meet the needs of consumers across the globe. It is currently delivering initial beta service both domestically and internationally and will continue expansion to near-global coverage of the world in 2021.

Price too high

Elon Musk’s Starlink has launched more than 1,300 Starlink satellites over the years and aims to provide users around the world with high-speed internet access, especially in rural and remote areas. Although it is still in its testing phase, it charges the user a monthly fee of US$99, in addition to the one-time fee of US$499 for the user terminal, installation of a tripod and router.

Survey shows that many users find this kind of fee and charges “unaffordable” as they think it’s too high for their budget. People from most of the remote areas where Starlink’s service reaches; do not have that kind of financial stability to afford the cost of Starlink services.

Moreover, being in the beta phase, Starlink’s internet services are not yet stable and there is a lack of technical personnel to solve a series of problems for testers from bill payment to receiver placement. All of these issues act as drawbacks for Starlink and can hold back Musk from achieving his goal.

Future goals

Other than aiming to provide internet connectivity to rural and other underserved regions of the world, Starlink plans to operate thousands of small satellites in the Low Earth Orbit. Additionally, it also plans to provide telephone service, emergency backup of voice calls, and a cheaper plan for low-income people through the US government’s lifeline plan. A February 2021 SpaceX report shows that the company is seeking permission from the Federal Communications Commission to designate itself as a qualified telecommunications operator (ETC) under the Communications Act. A 24-hour battery backup service is on the to-do list too, so that users can still make calls in the event of a power outage.

As for now, SpaceX has more than 10,000 users worldwide. It has been approved to deploy up to 1 million user terminals in USA and is aiming to increase the maximum deployment level to 500 Ten thousand user terminals.