Starlink Internet Review

Starlink
Plans start at $110.00/mo*

  • Nationwide availability
  • 50–500 Mbps speeds
  • Low latency

Provider ratings are based on user reviews and our independent customer satisfaction survey.

Our Starlink review

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 geostationary orbit, Starlink uses thousands of satellites in low-Earth orbit.

By placing its satellites much closer to Earth, Starlink cuts the journey your data travels to a fraction of the distance of 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 both potential and uncertainty. Starlink could 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

  • Rural availability
  • 50–500 Mbps speeds
  • Lower latency than other satellite providers

 Cons

  • Higher latency than wired connections
  • Long wait for new customers
  • Expensive equipment

Starlink availability

Starlink is available throughout the US, making it a good choice for rural areas. Although it has nearly complete nationwide coverage, the company has struggled to keep up with nationwide demand. In some cases, customers have had to wait 11 months for their equipment to arrive.11

Starlink Internet plans

PackagePriceSpeedView on Starlink site
Starlink$110.00/mo.50–250 MbpsShop Plans
Starlink Business$500.00/mo.150–500 MbpsShop Plans

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.

The current cost estimate for Starlink is $110 per month for residential internet service, plus an upfront fee of $599 for the equipment. Starlink also offers a higher speed business plan with 500 Mbps, but it comes at a premium monthly price.

Is Starlink portable?

In May, 2020, Starlink announced a paid add-on feature that would allow customers to move their dish to a new location.12 This means that those who pay for this extra perk could take their Starlink dish with them on vacation and set it up when they reach their destination. It does not, however, allow them to use their dish on the road.

In order to provide satellite internet to a mobile receiver, such as a dish mounted on a truck or boat, a provider needs a special permit from the FCC. SpaceX, which operates Starlink, applied for this regulatory permission in 2021, which could allow it to create broadband equipment for ships, planes, and trucks.13 The FCC also updated their rules for these mobile satellite stations in July of 2021, so we might see Starlink internet on trucks in the near future.14

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. Only about 35% of people in developing countries have access to the internet.4 Starlink could make that number 100% in the future.1

Starlink could also help 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 is also important for things like distance learning and telemedicine.5

Starlink’s high equipment cost poses a problem for these dreams of universal broadband. Although the company has improved upon its initial design during its beta testing, the smaller dish with a lower production cost actually costs customers even more than it did before.8 While this fee could change if Starlink improves its production process, the large upfront cost makes it a much less viable option for the same lower income households that could benefit the most from Starlink’s widespread availability.

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

Is Starlink faster than 5G?

Starlink is 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 between 100 Mbps and 200 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 speeds ranged between 50 and 150 Mbps in beta testing in 2020.2 The highest speed reported during that time was 205 Mbps.7 These speeds will continue to improve as more satellites are deployed. Starlink is currently advertising average speeds between 50 Mbps and 500 Mbps.

Where is Starlink available?

Starlink offers service throughout the US. It previously announced it would be available worldwide by 2021.1 As of the end of 2021, the service has more than 145,000 users in 25 countries worldwide.

Sources

  1. Michael Sheetz, CNBC, “SpaceX Says Starlink Internet Has ‘Extraordinary Demand,’ with Nearly 700,000 Interested in Service,” August 2020. Accessed October 27, 2020.
  2. Michael Sheetz, CNBC, “SpaceX Prices Starlink Satellite Internet Service at $99 per Month, According to E-mail,” October 27, 2020. Accessed October 27, 2020.
  3. Minda Zetlin, Inc., “Elon Musk’s Starlink Satellite Internet Service Might Be Available in November,” April 24, 2020. Accessed October 27, 2020.
  4. The World Bank. “Connecting for Inclusion: Broadband Access for All.” Accessed October 27, 2020.
  5. Colby Leigh Rachfal, Congressional Research Service, “COVID-19 and Broadband: Potential Implications for the Digital Divide,” March 13, 2020. Accessed October 27, 2020.
  6. Isobel Asher Hamilton, “Elon Musk Says Starlink Now Has Enough Satellites in Orbit to Launch a Public Beta of Its High-Speed Internet Service,” October 2020. Accessed October 14, 2020.
  7. Kate Duffy, Business Insider, “Spacex’s Starlink Internet Speeds Are Consistently Topping 150 Mbps — Now Elon Musk Says the Biggest Challenge Is Slashing the $600 Up-front Cost for Users,” November 4, 2020. Accessed November 12, 2020.
  8. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, “Starlink’s New Dishy McFlatface Is Smaller and Lighter, Still Costs $499,” November 12, 2021. Accessed November 22, 2021.
  9. Kate Duffy, Insider, “SpaceX’s Starlink User Growth Dropped in December as Some Preorder Customers Became Frustrated over Waiting 11 Months for the Internet Service,” January 7, 2022. Accessed February 22, 2022.
  10.  Chelsea Gohd, Space.com, “Solar Geomagnetic Storms Could Threaten More Satellites after Elon Musk’s Starlink” February 9, 2022. Accessed February 22, 2022.
  11. Kate Duffy, Business Insider, “SpaceX’s Starlink User Growth Dropped in December As Some Preorder Customers Became Frustrated Over Waiting 11 Months for the Internet Service,” January 7, 2022. Accessed May 20, 2022.
  12. Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch, “Starlink Adds $25/Month ‘Portability’ Feature That Lets Users Move Their Internet Around,” May 5, 2022. Accessed May 22, 2022.
  13. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, “SpaceX Plans Starlink Broadband for Trucks, Ships, and Planes,” March 8, 2021. Accessed January 10, 2022.
  14. Federal Communications Commission, Federal Register, “Earth Stations in Motion,” July 24, 2021. Accessed January 10, 2022.