Starlink

SpaceX Average Speeds drop Below 100mbps in 2021 due to network congestion!

It’s hard to talk about the pitfalls of Starlink without sounding as though we are against that technology, but we are not.

Some might say that we aim to benefit if Starlink is truly awesome and amazing for a variety of users and applications, and that is or will probably soon be true.

However, my point is solely that it’s just not there yet, and there are just a variety of issues that concern us and that might concern you as well.

One of our latest concerns is really about how the network, which boasted superfast speeds originally, has gotten slower and slower during beta testing as more users were added, and it’s currently down to less than 100Mbps speeds for most users. Some users are lucky to see 40Mbps.

Some will say that 40Mbps is still a lot faster than my 25Mbps HughesNet system, and yes, it is for sure, but what does the future hold if they lost so much speed already but there are still not a lot of people using it?  What happens when many more switch over to or get Starlink?

Reminder, it’s also in beta, which means pricing could change, they could add Data Caps or Limit Data via Throttling and more.

It’s enough of a concern for me, that I’m certainly not going to give up my 200Mbps Cable Internet at around $120 a month, to pay $20 less for 1/4 of the speeds and the potential drop to even lower speeds, added restrictions and increased pricing.

I consider Starlink to be like HughesNet and Viasat, yet a lot better for MANY applications. After all, it’s primarily a solution for those who cannot get anything better, faster, or more reliable at their location or where they expect to use it!

But not for all applications?  Why?  #1, it’s much more difficult to find a clear line of site 360 degrees around your home or business at a 20% angle or so and that is what Starlink suggests is required for reliable service.

I’m in the Mountains of Montana, and Starlink has been beta testing here since January 2020.  Many of our HughesNet customers were ordering Starlink a long time ago and testing it out.  I only have to say this… after 80+ customers, that we actually know of, tried our Starlink… as of the date of this post, we’ve lost 6 total HughesNet Customers to Starlink out of 1000’s.  Those customers are:

  1. In Meadows or former burn areas or in open or plains areas where they have a crystal clear line of site.
  2. They are customers who only use the Internet for surfing the web once in awhile, checking email and messaging family and friends though Facebook Messenger or something.
  3. They are mostly people who do not stream or use the system for business communications, zoom, teams, or anything like that that require a reliable always-on Internet connection.

The reality is that HughesNet requires a much smaller line-of-site in order to offer fast, reliable service.  Once it’s installed, even  looking between the trees or tall buildings, you’re good to go and that dish is pointed at the satellite from then on unless something happens or changes it.

The only other point I’ll make about that is simply that, although Starlink offers Faster Speeds, currently no Data Caps and the ability to support things like VPN, WiFi calling, and more, how many people do you know that even need or want more than say 10 – 25Mbps Speeds to do what they need or want to do and why would you pay $100 a month for things you don’t even need or use, when you can get something similar in many areas from $35 – $70 a month?

It’s just something worth considering before you bail on your existing provider or settle on Starlink.  One of our customer was so excited to see 60Mbps speeds over Starlink, that she called us all pissed off because we didn’t offer her Starlink approx. 1 year before it even came out!  She cancelled her HughesNet service and told us we could have the equipment if we come “Get that shit off of her property!”  So, we did!  Two days after we removed it, which was about 1 week later, we got a call from her asking what it would cost to have us re-installer her HughesNet system and re-activate it.  Well, by then, we had already sold it to a gentleman 120 miles south of us and hooked him up to her account.  And after that experience, we didn’t want her business back anyway!

Now, in all fairness, this happened last year (Starlink Slowing Down due to Network Congestion) and since then, they have made many changes, including the launch if newer technology near the end of 2021!

In fact, they changed the satellite dishes as well by going from a round one originally, to a square one now!  So who knows what’s on the horizon.

Here is a great blog post from a very experienced journalist about the recent changes and also about the slow down in 2020 – 2021 after adding a bunch of users.

Again, this post was just to hopefully help you raise awareness so that you can make an informed decision.  I wouldn’t have shared a link to a post that mentions all of good changes ahead if I wanted to discourage you from getting Starlink. I am just as excited about Starlink and SpaceX and Elon, as most of you are, but it’s important to weigh the good, the bad, and the ugly!