Starlink satellite broadband internet service is officially available in North America --- specifically, in Washington State.
Starlink satellite broadband internet service is officially available in North America --- specifically, in Washington State. The next generation of telecommunication is here...kind of. At this point, its only the beta testing program and its only available in limited capacity.
But at least its mostly on schedule. Despite the magnitude of the project, reports indicate that Starlink is going to be everything that SpaceX promised. At the very least, its on track to be widely available long before 5G, which is beginning to look more and more like little more than a massive hype campaign.
Limited capacity means the service is not available to everyone, and that is still performing under the goals SpaceX has set for itself. We tried multiple addresses in the Snohomish area in the Starlink portal, and none of them were eligible for service. Whether that’s because the addresses weren’t rural enough, or due to as-of-yet incomplete coverage, we don’t know. You can try your address (or anybody’s address) in the portal by following this link.
From its conception, Starlink’s goal has been to bring space age telecomms to the most rural 4% of the globe. The service is intended to be competitive in price, and competitive in performance. Reports by users who qualified for the Beta Than Nothing program say that its both. The monthly cost is about 100 USD (seems expensive, but wait till you see the stats) but the setup cost is only about 500 USD. Try getting a fiber optics or next gen copper network installed for that much.
The appeal of Starlink is low latency data transmission. Users report a range of 31-94ms, while the promise from Starlink is even lower than that. But the download speed is no slouch, either, with reports pinning it at as high as 120 mbps in rare cases, with numbers like 60 mbps being more common. To put this in perspective, 4G doesn’t even sniff 60 in ideal conditions. 4G LTE can get close, but a user rarely experiences speeds at the upper end.
60 is more like low-end 5G speed, and, in fact, Starlink does use a radio wave that would classify it as5G. The main difference is that...well, Starlink exists, and transmits data much farther than 5G mobile.5G has range comparable to Wifi... get further than that from a node, and you’re looking at 4G speeds.
Keep in mind these are just testing numbers for Starlink. The real program, if it goes a planned, will be better. As of now, there appears to be regular short lapses in coverage. Allegedly, there are about 700satellites now, with as many as 42,000 intended to be deployed. You can enter your address at this portal to see if you’re eligible for coverage:
Here are a few different coverage maps:
For telecomms solutions in Western Washington, you can fill out a contact form, found here. Waeco offers turn key services for your telecomms cabling installations, including design, permitting and constructions.
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