Despite the fact that Starlink’s internet service is still in beta testing it is already providing internet speeds faster than those available to 95 percent of U.S. consumers. Making that data more impressive is the fact that only a fraction of Starlink’s satellites are currently in orbit.
Should its numbers hold up as more users get online, Starlink could have a bigger impact than anyone realized. Except for Elon, of course.
The prospect of satellite-powered high-speed internet is looking more promising than ever. That’s especially true for rural areas where traditional internet providers are lagging several years behind current technologies.
On October 26, Starlink launched its “Better Than Nothing Beta,” promising users speeds between 50 Mbps and 150 Mbps. Although that’s nothing to laugh at, early reports show that Starlink is facilitating even faster connections than anticipated.
Users on Reddit compiled a list of connection speeds and most of them fell within the promised range. However, there were some exceptions. One user experienced download speeds of up to 174 Mbps. That person is located in rural Montana. Another West Coast user saw 161 Mbps.
It’s worth noting that much of the data from Reddit was collected prior to the official start of the beta. However, the results are better than what many people have experienced with traditional internet providers.
According to data from Ookla, a popular speed-test provider, the numbers being generated by Starlink are better than 95 percent of connections in the U.S.
The Montana user perhaps sums it up best by saying, “Starlink will forever change the game.”
More to Come
Although Starlink’s service is already impressive, it will only continue to improve in the days to come. SpaceX plans to launch tens of thousands of satellites to create a massive constellation that can provide reliable internet service for all parts of the world.
As of October 24, the constellation had just under 900 satellites. Considering that a small fraction of the total network is already delivering such impressive speeds, it’s almost hard to fathom what Starlink will look like at this time next year—or five years from now.
One benefit will be more stable connections. Users right now may experience brief interruptions to their service due to the fact that satellites are passing in and out of range. With more units in the constellation, that problem will become less common.
One thing worth keeping an eye on will be how the network responds to more users. When Starlink expands out of its beta phase, a huge number of consumers will likely want to sign up. It will be interesting to see how the satellite service maintains its speed when it is burdened with more users.
Nonetheless, with plenty of time to mature and a plan to launch thousands of new satellites in orbit, Starlink is poised for a bright future. The days of slow, laggy internet and providers who refuse to update their technology could be coming to an end.