Starlink Internet Review

Starlink
Plans start at
$99.00/mo

  • Expected nationwide availability
  • Speeds up to 150 Mbps
  • Low latency

Starlink speed, pricing, data, and latency numbers are estimates based on current data as of 9/27/2020. Actual data may vary when Starlink service is officially launched.

Starlink pros and cons

Starlink, the satellite internet provider created by SpaceX, is one of the most exciting and important developments currently happening in satellite internet (and internet in general). Unlike traditional satellite internet, which operates using satellites in a high, geostationary orbit, Starlink will use thousands of satellites in low-Earth orbit.

By placing its satellites much closer to Earth, Starlink will cut the journey your data makes to a fraction of the distance it has to travel with providers like HughesNet and Viasat, dramatically reducing latency and making it possible to use its services for real-time applications like video chat and online gaming, which struggle on satellite connections.

That said, Starlink is still a newcomer to the satellite internet market, which comes with its share of both potential and uncertainty. Starlink has the potential to completely reshape satellite internet and internet in rural America by providing greater access, faster speeds, and lower prices than many of its competitors. It’s also the first network of its kind, so it faces new challenges from maintaining its rigorous launch schedule to ensuring its supply chain can keep pace with the overwhelming customer demand.1

Pros

  • Works in rural areas
  • Offers speeds up to 100 Mbps
  • Has low latency

Cons

  • Still has higher latency than wired connections
  • Still in private beta testing phase
  • Requires expensive equipment

Starlink availability

Starlink is currently in beta, so the only people who have used it up to this point have been mostly Starlink employees. Starlink only recently opened their beta to the first batch of public beta testers, but it will need many more before the service is ready to go live.2

If you’re interested in being a beta tester for Starlink, you can share your information with the company on its website. This is by no means a guarantee that you’ll be selected to be a beta tester, but it will also sign you up for news and updates so you’ll be among the first to know when Starlink internet goes live in your area.

Starlink Internet plan

Announced plans: Starlink Internet
$99.00/mo.
More info

We currently know about only the basic Starlink internet service, and it’s unclear if Starlink will offer multiple tiers of service like other satellite services. Still, its basic tier offers incredibly fast download speeds for satellite internet at a price that still beats anything remotely comparable from its competitors. Stay tuned to over the next couple of months to see more information about plans and speeds as it becomes available.

What we know about Starlink fees and charges

One of the most attractive features of Starlink’s internet service is the promise of a fast, affordable internet connection in rural areas. Thus far, Starlink hasn’t announced any sort of tiered pricing or data caps, though that could change as we get closer to the official launch.3

The current cost estimate for Starlink at launch is $99 per month for the internet service, plus an upfront fee of $499 for the equipment. As the official launch draws nearer, these prices may change. Be sure to check back for updates as new information becomes available.

Learn more about Starlink and satellite internet

The Best Satellite Internet ProvidersThe Fastest Internet ProvidersAbout Satellite Internet
Get the pros and cons of the other major players in the satellite internet market: Viasat and HughesNet.Find out how Starlink speeds compare to other types of internet service.Why is Starlink such a big deal? Learn more about how Starlink addresses current satellite internet limitations.
Read MoreRead MoreRead More

Our verdict

Starlink has the potential to be a game changer. If successful, it could make the kind of high-speed internet connections previously available only in large cities available to rural areas in the US and around the world. Currently, only about 35% of people in developing countries have access to the internet.4 Starlink could make that number 100% as early as 2021.1

Starlink could also help to bridge the digital divide in the United States. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, internet access has become even more important to families’ economic well-being.5 Internet connectivity has also become important for things like distance learning and telemedicine.5

Starlink’s high download speeds and low latency don’t just make it a great option in rural internet markets. In many urban areas that only have access to DSL, Starlink’s satellite internet might actually offer better speeds than wired connections. While communication technologies like fiber are still the best way to connect to the internet, Starlink could become a practical alternative to many aging internet technologies.

Starlink FAQ

When will Starlink be available?
Starlink internet service is currently available for open beta testing and could be available in the northern US and southern Canada by the end of 2020.6 Starlink plans to be available worldwide in 2021.

How do I sign up for the Starlink beta?
To sign up to be a Starlink beta tester, you can share your information with the company on its website. You’ll receive updates and announcements from Starlink, as well as be put on the list to be a potential beta tester. Since demand is high and the public beta has already begun, chances are pretty slim you’ll be selected to be a beta tester. Regardless, you’ll still be the first to know when Starlink becomes available in your area.

Is Starlink faster than 5G?
Starlink faster than 5G—for now. 5G internet, once fully implemented, will be much faster than Starlink satellite internet. Starlink’s top speeds are currently estimated at about 150 Mbps, while 5G could potentially reach download speeds of 10 Gbps (10,000 Mbps).

Where Starlink beats 5G is in availability. While 5G coverage is expanding as internet service providers (ISPs) build new cellular antennas and other infrastructure in major cities and suburban areas, Starlink will cover the entire country (and the world) as soon as the full satellite constellation goes online. Although 5G is expanding more rapidly than ever before, even locations without good cell reception can still see the night sky, which means they can get Starlink.

How fast is Starlink internet?
Starlink internet ranges between 50 and 150 Mbps, according to the most recent speeds recorded from beta testing.2 The highest speed reported for Starlink so far is 205 Mbps.7 These speeds will continue to improve as more satellites are deployed.

Where will Starlink be available?
Starlink has announced it will be available worldwide by 2021.1 The service is currently in open beta, and its availability is limited to the northern US and southern Canada.6